London & Paris Exchange,
Managing Direetor - - A. M. MANDEVILLE, Esq.
Banking and Exchange Business of Every Description Transacted.
Advances made on Industrial Securities at 1 per cent above Bank Kate,
and on Mining Shares at 5 per cent, per annum.
Deposit Accounts : Rate 3 per cent, per annum, Eepayable on Demand,
Drafts Issued on New York, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Montreal.
STOCK EXCHANGE DEPARTMENT.
Business undertaken in all Stocks and Shares. Unquoted Securities
Special Rates quoted for all classes of Insurance.
BASILDON HOUSE, BANK, LONDON, E.G.
Banking and Ineurance Departments—
COLEl^IAN STREET HOUSE, LONDON, E.G.
Auction, Land and Estate Department—
27, CHARLES STREET, ST. JAMES'S, S.W.
West End Office—
29, CECIL CHAMBERS, HOTEL CECIL, LONDON, W.C.
4 i«r(i«€n — Northern Assurance Buildings,
Belfatt — Donegall Square West.
£»rm»n^^m— Central House, New Street.
Brighton— 150, North Street.
Bristol— 25, Clare Street.
Cambridge — Llandaff Chambers, Regent
Dubl-nr-AS, Dame Street.
Jff<M'boum«— 17a, Terminus Road.
Ola$gow—4,b, Renfield Street.
E(Utingi—6, Trinity Street.
£uU— Prudential Buildings, King Edward
Z»ee(f«— Standard Buildings, City Square.
Liverpool— 11, Lord Street.
Manchester— E&gle Insurance Buildings, 64,
Neweastle-on-Tyne— Sun Insurance BuUd«
ings, Collingwood Street.
Nottingham — 19, Low Pavement.
Oa^ford— 3a, St, Michael's Street,
Plymouth — Prudential Buildings, Bedford
Southampton— Prudential Buildings, Above
Canada— TORONTO : 34, Victoria Street.
Licensed by the Government of Ontario to deal in Stocks and Shares.
Porelfn Agcncle*— PARIS, BERLIN, ANTWERP, AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK.
JOHANNESBURG and SALISBURY.
Telephones— aaa, jaa and 237 London Wall (National). 6536 Central (P.O.)
Telegrams and Cablegrams (Private Wire)— "Plenarily, London."
(Author of "Our Clearing System and Clearing Bouses" "Banking Statistics,**
" The Three Croivns," *^ Somme OLde Curiosities" '^Barclay d: Company,
Limited" ** History of Greenwich and Blackheath, dec, dc, dsc)
EFFINGHAM WILSON, 64 THREADNEEDLE STREET.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2007 with funding from
In this book will be found a history of the various
banks which enjoy the privilege of having a seat in
the London Bankers' Clearing House — the most im-
portant financial institution in the world. The pro-
gress of each has been faithfully recorded, whether
favourable or otherwise, and the statements and criti-
cisms may be regarded as absolutely fair, coming as
they do from the pen of a financial writer of many
The history of the Bank of England is not given
in this book for two reasons. First, this bank is, so
to speak, but half a member, as it only *' clears" on
one side ; secondly, it would be an absolute impossi-
bility to condense into a few pages the marvellous
tale of existence of the *' Old Lady of Threadneedle
Street " — her vagaries have been so extensive that an
account of them must be deferred to a separate
It has been my endeavour to give a fair and
absolutely unbiassed review of the various banks in
the ** House," and if my work meets with the
approval of bank and financial ofl&cials, I shall be
more than satisfied.
As some of the banks have their shareholders'
meetings annually only, it has occurred to me, as
being most fair to take, as frequently as possible, for
the purposes of comparison, the balance-sheets for the
year ended 81st December last.
The word of ** amalgamation " has gone forth.
The present lull is only temporary; jealous eyes are
being cast on the few remaining private banks in
the provinces — most, if not all of which, must sooner
or later succumb to the wiles of the enterprising
joint stock banks, and a number of the existing joint
stock banks are regarded as likely acquisitions. But,
and this is important, there can be no possible doubt
that it will be as difficult half-a- century hence as to-
day, for any strange bank to procure a seat in the
"Holy of Holies"— the Temple in Post Office Court,
During more than a century this centre, this pulse
of the financial world, has followed its own course
quietly, unostentatiously, has maintained its authority
with dignity, and has taught a lesson to all similar
imitators, in the provinces, on the Continent, and in
America. The future of the Clearing system is "pro-
gress and extension," and it may yet be that in a
few years time the clientele of the " House " may be
so altered that another book on this subject may have
to be written by
New Cross, London, S.E.
The London Bankers' Cleabing House
The London Bankers' Oleartng House,
Barclay & Company
Capital & Counties
Glyn, Mills & Company...
London & County
London & South- Western
London & Westminster ...
London, City & Midland
London Joint- Stock
Metropolitan (of England
KoBARTS, Lubbock & Co.
Union of London & Smith'
Willlvms, Deacon's Bank
The London Bankers* Clearing House.
The London Bankers' Clearing House has been aptly
called the pulse of the financial world. There are
probably few, if any, institutions, where such an enor-
mous business is transacted year by year. The total
paid clearing for 1904, for instance, reached the enor-
mous aggregate of more than £11,000,000,000. But
like all very old institutions there is a veil of mystery
hanging over its origin. No one seems to know
exactly when the clearing system was started, or
whether in this country or any other. If in another
country, then it must have been lost sight of for
many years, and "re-invented" in England. There
seems no doubt that it was established before 1778.*
An old guide-book to London states, " The practice of
clearing is said to be above a century old, the banks
employing clerks called "clearers," who used to settle
their accounts on the top of a post, or on one another's
backs, in Lombard Street, and very often resorted to
one banking-house, which had a large recess in the
window, which they found very convenient, but the
house in question found just the opposite, and the
noise made such a hindrance to business that, it is
said, they were often summarily turned out. This led
to a house being taken in 1810, and the organization
of a system admirable in its simple arrangements."
To this we may add we have heard that the early
clearing transactions were often carried on in a friendly
public-house. It appears very probable that ** The
Grasshopper" was the rendezvous referred to in the
above extract, but an entry in the books of Messrs.
Martin & Co. in 1773, " Quarterly charge for the use
of clearing-room, 19s. 6d.," gives an earlier date to
* Lawson, in his "History of Banking" (p. 316), dates the
establishment of the Ciearing-House at 1753.
its establishment.* From an article on the Clearing
House we take the following extract : "In 1775
a building in Lombard Street was set apart for the
use of bankers, in which they might exchange drafts,
bills, securities, and thereby save labour, and curtail the
amount of floating cash requisite to meet the settle-
ment of the different houses if effected singly."!
Mr. Barnett thinks that **in the early days of clear-
ing the clerks used to meet in a room in the banking-
house of Messrs. Smith, Payne, & Smiths, but, in
1841, removed to their present Clearing House."
Some years ago Messrs. Smith stated that they had
no record which enabled them to speak with any
degree of certainty as to the accuracy of that asser-
tion, but they learned from a gentleman in their
employ that so early as 1827 **the Clearing House
or office adjoined the bank, of which it formed "part."
With regard to the establishment of the clearing
system we cull the following : Possibly the principles
of the Clearing House were first understood and acted
upon by bank clerks and messengers rather than by
the bankers and bank managers themselves. Those
* ''The Grasshopper," by Mr. J. B. Martin,
employes, even then so it seems, averse to unnecessary
work, and ready to resort to any expedient which
would in the slightest degree lessen their labours,
came to the conclusion that much time would be
saved if they were to meet to exchange the bundles of
cheques, &c., which they were sent to collect instead
of presenting them for payment at the counters of
the various bankers. For this purpose the top of a
post, or the corner of a street, was oft-times selected.
In a neighbouring court was a convenient tavern, so
this was chosen as a rendezvous, as an improvement
on the transactions in the open streets. We have
heard that the whole arrangement was come to in
a public-house to which the messengers and others
made a practice of resorting. What more natural than
that two or three bank officials should there meet
and discuss their views on banking in general and
for their own establishments in particular ! Perhaps in
the course of discussion one man, say, from "Kobarts,"
compared his •' charge" with that of the clerk of
another bank, say, ** Glyn's," and suddenly, as by
inspiration, this suggestion was made, and acted
upon : The clerk from Robarts' listed all the cheques
and drafts he had on Glyn's, and Glyn's clerk made
a similar catalogue of all the drafts, &c., he held on
Robarts ; they next exchanged parcels, and returned
each to his own bankf agreeing to meet again later
on. In the interim the cheques taken to each bank
were examined. The messengers or clerks returning to
the appointed place as agreed, some such conversa-
tion as this probably took place between them : Glyn's
man, "Robarts, we have a charge of £9,056 17s. 8d.
on you and you have a charge of £10,187 8s. 9d. on
us ; as all our respective cheques are good we have
to pay you (£10,187 3s. 9d. less £9,056 17s. 8d.)
£1,130 6s. Id." The balance of the transaction was
then paid in notes and gold by Glyn's man to the
representative of Robarts' bank.
This is very probably how the system of " clearing '!
originated, commending itself by its very simplicity.
For, referring to the hypothetical example just given,
had it not been for so easy an arrangement each
bank must, of necessity, have paid the other in full —
that is in notes and gold. In other words, £19,244 Is. 6d.
would have changed hands instead of the comparatively
small amount of £1,180 6s. Id. The plan adopted
by the clerks, although known and winked at by the
officials, at last demanded attention because of the
dangers attendant upon it. The principle was, how-
ever, recognized, with the result that, in 1810,
a house was taken for the sole purpose of *' clearing."
We find that Mr. John White was an inspector of
the Clearing House in 1818, but we cannot trace
who held that responsible position before him. His
salary, as president or inspector, appears to have been
dBlOO per annum. He was succeeded by a Mr. Henna,
who was followed by Mr. John Pocock ; he, in his
turn, was succeeded by Mr. George Derbyshire, who
for many years had as his assistant Mr. Pocock.
On the retirement of Mr. Derbyshire, Mr. Pocock
was elected chief inspector, with Mr. P. Matthews
(of Barclay & Co., Ltd.) as assistant. On Mr. Pocock's
retirement Mr, Matthews was elected chief inspector,
which exalted position he still holds. His sound
financial knowledge and business abilities have long
since proved to the whole of the banking world the
wisdom of the committee in their selectien of a fitting
successor to Mr. Pocock.
The year 1854 is remarkable in the annals of the
"House" for two great innovations — (1) the admis-
sion of joint-stock bankers over the sacred threshold
of the Temple of Mammon, and (2) the balances for
the first time being settled by transfer, or drafts, on
the Bank of England. Widely different impressions
obtained as to the extent of the economy effected
in the bank-note circulation by this arrangement.
Mr. Barnett says, " An examination of the return of
the daily transactions of the Clearing House for 1889
will show that the largest amount of bank-notes used
in one day for the payment of balances was £593,300,
the smallest dB 108, 000, and the average for the year
£213,100. Mr. George Derbyshire has been good
enough, with the sanction of cur president, to give the
aggregate balances for 1879-80, and I find that they
range from £1,140,000 to £5,534,000, giving a daily
average of £2,068,000. Thus whilst the totals of the clear-
ing increased in the period 1889-79 from £954,000,000
to £5,266,000,000 or by some 450 per cent., the average
balances increased by 900 per cent."*
To Mr. Derbyshire is due the honour of being the
gentleman by whose instrumentability the grandest of
all the various alterations in the transaction of clear-
ing business is due — the payment of balances by trans-
fer. The plan was originally proposed by Mr. Babbage,
* ♦' Effect of the Development of Banking Facilities upon the
Circulation of the Country" (pp. 80 and 81).-
but was opposed by the majority of bankers.
Mr. Derbyshire urged the matter most strongly, and
it was decided at a meeting held at the Bank of
England that the plan of settlement by transfer should
The earliest authentic record we can find of the
amount of paid clearing is in the report of the Com-
mittee of the House of Commons on Banks of Issue
dated 1840, which shows that in the previous year
the total amount of clearing paid through the House
was £964,401,600. Compare that with the total of
more than £11,000,000,000 of to-day, and one can
grasp in a moment the fact that not only the Clear-
ing House, but the world generally, must have made
enormous strides. As we have already said, the Clear-
ing House is the great pulse of the financial world,
and by its returns one can easily gauge the state of
trade — its progress or decadence.
The country clearing system is a modification of the
town clearing, and has been established some forty-
five years. The whole credit of this magnificent addition
to the work already referred to, so far as London
cheques and drafts are concerned, is due to the
Lord Avebury, one of the greatest living authorities
on banking matters. At first it seemed as though the
proposal could not work, but as soon as a trial was
given it turned out an enormous success, and has
largely contributed to the welfare and comfort of
citizens in the provinces. The number of cheques
passed through the country clearing is tremendous by
reason of the average value of each being so much
smaller than that of the drafts passing through the^
town department. We do not think for a single
second that Sir John Lubbock adequately conceived
the magnitude and far reaching effects of his proposal.
It was for the present chief inspector, Mr. Philip
Matthews to differentiate between the ''town" and
"country" paid clearing, and it is under his regime
that we are able in the weekly returns to learn how
much of the enormous aggregate is due to London,
and how much to country business. One thing is
quite certain, that when the return under the new
plan was first made the bankers, not only in London,
but all over the country, were astonished to learn
the dimensions to which the clearing business — other
than London — had grown. Were greater facilities to
be offered in hours and accommodation it is more
than probable that one would see the country clear-
ing returns increase by leaps and bounds.
It is impossible for us in this work to give
detailed statemeDts as to how the system works or
an analysed precis of the returns. Suflfice it to say
that as our plan has been adopted not only in the
provinces and the colonies, but also in foreign countries
and America, that surely is a sufficiently strong impri-
mature as to its utility and efficacy. With the exten-
sion of the building in recent years work has been
greatly faciUtated in Post Office Court, Lombard Street,
but there still remains plenty of room for extension
if only circumstances served. But situated as it is in
the very heart of the City, and hemmed in as it is
by buildings occupied by important insurance and
other companies, it almost seems as though the com-
mittee have reached the end of their tether so far
as further extension is concerned.
It is a great pity, since with a larger and more
commodious building it is probable that the Scotch
and Irish banks might be admitted as well as two or
more important institutions in the metropolis now
clearing through other companies.
The London Clearing House, 1854-1904.
The Changes op Fifty Years.
It is always interesting to glance back at the history
of old institutions, and still more fascinating when they
happen to have a history all their own. In the
previous chapter we have given a summarised account
of the Clearing House, although we could not record
a list of its earliest members. Here we take a retro-
spect of half a century, and all those in any way con-
nected with the banking world will at once recognise
the strange alterations which have taken place during
that period in its denizens. The old generation has
passed, or nearly passed, away, and another has sprung
up which remember not, or ignores, their predecessors
in the centuries which have gone. As we have
already stated, there is only one absolutely private
bank in the House to-day, although it was many
years after the establishment of joint-stock institutions
that any admission was allowed to them to the sacred
precincts of the Clearing House. But it is not only
the private houses which have disappeared off the
scene — amalgamation between joint-stock banks have
constantly taken place. It will be seen by the follow-
ing list that in 1854 the only joint-stock banks then
in the House were the Commercial Bank, the London
Joint-Stock, the London & Westminster (with their
Southwark branch), the Eoyal British Bank, and the
Union Bank of London, and it will be noticed what
fate has befallen these and the rest.
Barclay & Co.
Barnett & Co.
Bosanquet & Co.
Brown, Janson, & Co.
London & County Bank
Currie & Co
Dimsdale & Co.
Fuller & Co
Olyn & Co
...Amalgamated with Lloyds
...Stopped payment in 1866
...Amalgamated with Glyn
& Co., 1864
...Amalgamated with Pres-
cott & Co., 1890
...Amalgamated with Parr's,
...Amalgamated with Cur-
rie & Co., 1864
Hanbury & Co.
Hankey & Co.
Hey wood & Co.
London Joint- Stock Bank
Jones, Loyd, & Co. ...
...Amalgamated with Bar-
nett & Co., 1864
Became Consolidated Bank
Amalgamated with Parr's,
...Amalgamated with Lon-
don & Westminster,
London & Westminster Bank
Lubbock & Co.
Martin & Co.
Masterman & Co.
Prescott & Co.
Price & Co. ...
Robarts & Co.
Royal British Bank
Rogers & Co. ...
v.\» « A
..Amalgamated with Ro-
barts & Co., 1860
..Became Agra & Master-
man's Bank, 1864.
...Amalgamated with Dims-
...Stopped payment, 1866.
...Amalgamated with Lub-
bock & Co., 1860.
...Stopped payment, 1866.
...Became English Joint-
Stock Bank, 1866.
Sapte <fe Co
Smith & Go.
Spooner & Co.
Stevenson & Co
Union Bank of London
Williams & Co
Willis, Percival, & Co.
Since 1854 many changes
following banks have been
seen at a glance that the
tinned. The banks admitted
City Bank, 1856
Amalgamated with Ful-
ler & Co., 1869
.Amalgamated with Bar-
clay & Co., 1866
.Amalgamated with Bosan-
quet & Co., 1867
Bank of London, 1866
National Bank, 1859
Alliance Bank, 1868...
Imperial Bank, 1868...
.Amalgamated with Man-
chest & Salford Bank,
.Stopped payment, 1878
have taken place. The
omitted, but it will be
system of changes con-
since 1864 have been : —
.Amalgamated with Lon-
don and Midland,
1898, and title of
altered to London
City & Midland Bank
.Stopped payment, 1866
.Amalgamated with Parr's,
, Amalgamated with Lon-
don Joint-Stock Bank,
Metropolitan Bank, 1868 ...Amalgamated with Birm-
ingham Banking Com-
Bank of England, 1864 ...One side only
National Provincial Bank, 1865
London & South - Western
Central Bank, 1878 Amalgamated with Birm-
ingham and Midland
Bank, 1891, when
titled was changed to
London & Midland
Bank. Further amal-
gamation with the
City Bank, 1898, when
name again altered to
London, City & Mid-
land Bank, Ltd.
Capital & Counties' Bank, 1882
Lloyds' Bank, 1894 On their amalgamation
with Barnett & Bosan-
Parr's Bank, 1891 On their amalgamation
with Fuller & Co.
Bank of England (one side only).
Barclay & Co., Ltd.
Capital & Counties.
Glyn & Co.
London & County.
London & South- Western.
London & Westminster.
London, City, & Midland.
London Joint- Stock.
Parr's & the Alliance.
Bobarts, Lubbock, & Co.
Union & Smith's.
Barclay & Company, Limited.
This company, when it appeared as a limited instead
of a private company, almost took away the breath
of the banking world. The announcement was entirely
mi- anticipated ; the old private banking-house of
Barclay & Co. was looked upon as one of the few
which would weather the tide of competition and pro-
ceed on its own lines, strong and firm, as it had
done for more than a century. If Barclay's amalga-
mated at all why should it not be with some of their
contemporaries in the west of London, and some of
their many connections in the country? That was
the question asked by the customers, and the man
in the street. The business was sound, old estab-
lished ; the credit was all that could be desired ; the
firm was one of those in which no one expected to
see any alteration ; the demands of modern times as
regards periodical balance-sheets had been complied
with ; the pubUc were more than satisfied with the
stability of the institution, and yet the directors thought
fit to arrange a combination of interests which staggered
the financial world. The wisdom of the policy of the
Bank was seriously questioned, but the result proved
that it was more than justified.
Barclay's, like Robarts, was one of the old private
banking institutions in London which had survived the
tide of amalgamation and absorption ; the bank had
held sternly aloof from all inducements and allure-
ments. There were scores of joint-stock banks which
would have been only too glad to come to terms,
but none of the offers were accepted. Barclay's
wished to take its own initiative, and did so. Joint-
stock banks, as partners, were not desired — they were
not needed. Seeing the importance of falling in line,
Barclay's chalked out the plan on which they intended
to work, and by a skilful piece of diplomacy obtained
the ready consent of the many provincial houses to
throw in their lot with them so that a limited
company might be established on a sound basis, the
interest of each branch connected with the partner-
ship might be properly considered, and that the com-
bined institution might face the London world as
a joint-stock company which was prepared to measure
Bwords with those at that time holding the supremacy.
From a private bank, of great repute, Barclay's, by
this one stroke of diplomacy, placed themselves in the
foremost ranks of the clearing banks of the day —
a position which they have more than maintained
since. The firm of Barclay & Co., not to give their
title in full, was so well known that their pronounce-
ment in 1896 was received with the greatest respect,
albeit excitement ; and everyone was assured that no
such momentous step would have been taken except
the management was absolutely clear that it would
be for the present and future good of the institu-
tion. The circular ran : —
"54, Lombard Street,
" London, E.G.
** We have the pleasure to inform you of
the completion of arrangements for the amalga-
mation of the businesses of the private banks,
who names are appended, as a company with
the name of Barclay & Company, Limited.
"The registered capital will be £6,000,000,
of which £5,000,000 will be issued and sub-
scribed ; £2,000,000 will be paid up, and
a further sum of £1,000,000 provided as a
reserve fund. The whole of the £5,000,000,
and also the reserve fund, will be subscribed
by the amalgamating firms.
**The directors, whose names are annexed,
have been selected from among the existing
partners, and the local management will remain
in the same hands as heretotore, the private
character of the banks being thus preserved.
*' We are confident that this combination of
private banks, which has been long in con-
templation, will have the approval of our friends
and of all concerned.
"Barclay & Co."
Names of Banks Amalgamating.
Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Eansom, Bouverie & Co.,
London and Brighton.
Goslings & Sharpe, London.
Gurney & Co., Norfolk, Fakenham, Halesworth, King's
Lynn, Wisbech, Great Yarmouth.
Gurney s, Alexanders & Co., Ipswich.
Gurneys, Eound, Green & Co., Colchester.
J. Backhouse & Co., Darlington.
Bassett, Son & Harris, Bedfordshire (Leighton Buz-
Fordham, Gibson & Co., Koyston.
Gibson, Tuke & Gibson (Saffron Walden and North
Molineux, Whitfeld & Co. (Old Bank), Lewes.
J. Mortlock & Co., Limited, Cambridge.
Sharpies, Tuke, Lucas & Seebohm, Hitchin.
Sparrow, Tufnell & Co. (Essex Bank), Chelmsford and
Veasey, Desborough, Bevan, Tillard & Co. (Hunting-
ton Town and County Bank).
Woodall, Hebden & Co., Scarborough Old Bank.
The following interesting history of the premises
now occupied by the Bank is taken from Mr. J. Hilton
Price's valuable work, " The Signs of Old Lombard
"No. 58. 'The Black Horse.' This was the original
site of this sign. It was here that Pepys' friend,
little Stokes, the goldsmith, lived, who in 1677
appeared in the 'Little London Directory' as *kepe-
ing running cashes' under the name of Humph. Stocks;
but Stokes was probably correct, as in The London
Gazette of June, 1700, the name of Robert Stokes,
of * The Black Horse ' is to be seen. John Bland,
goldsmith, was here in 1728, having obtained a lease
from the Vintner's Company. In 1749 a fresh lease
was granted to a Devereux Bowly, and then, or
perhaps a little earlier, it may be presumed John
Bland moved to the premises now No. 62, at the
corner of Birchin Lane, and took his sign with him.
"No. 54. By a deed in the possession of the
Vintner's Company, we learn that, in 1728, this
house was called *The Bible,' and was in occupation
of George Braithwaite, a goldsmith.
"No. 55. This house was in all probability called
* The Three Kings,' and was occupied, according to
a list of bankers published in 1768 in The Daily
Jounialy by Messrs. Pewtress & Robarts, and by
Messrs. Smith, Wright & Gray. In another list we
find Messrs. Pewtress & Robarts as being opposite
*The Three Kings,' which would be about No. 82, but,
unfortunately, nothing is known of this firm after
1769, otherwise we should have been able to clear
up the difiBculty by the number. In 1770 we find
the house was numbered 55, and Messrs. Smith,
Wright & Gray were the occupiers, where they
remained a few years before moving to No. 21.
" No. 66, on the east side of George Yard, was
*The Black Spread Eagle.' We learn from Tht
London Gazette that in 1676 one James Taylor,
a goldsmith, was at this sign, and that he advertised
for a runaway lad, aged about fourteen years, who
was somewhat freckled in the face, and had brown
hair and wore a grey coat which had pewter buttons.
That is all that is known of him. The next occupant
of ' The Spread Eagle ' was Jeremiah Marlow, a gold-
smith, who advertised his wares in The London
Gazette from 1694 to 1702. Messrs. Freame & Gould
were here in 1728. Mr. Freame started in business
in 1694 at ' The Three Anchors ' in this street, where
he certainly remained till 1702. In 1786 Mr. James
Barclay, who was the son of David Barclay, of
Cheapside, joined him in partnership. Towards the
end of the last century it is recorded that the staff
of Barclay's consisted of three clerks, and we are
told that upon the third clerk coming to the shop for
the first time, he was thus dressed: He wore a long
flapped coat with large pockets; the sleeves had long
cuffs with three large buttons, something like the
coats worn by the Greenwich pensioners of the present
day ; an embroidered waistcoat reaching nearly down
to his knees, with an enormous bouquet in the but-
ton-hole, a cocked hat, powdered wig with pigtail and
bagwig, and gold-headed cane similar to those of
the present day carried by footmen of ladies of rank.
This appears a peculiar costume nowadays, but it is
quite possible that bankers had a particular dress or
uniform that they compelled their clerks to wear.
Messrs. Barclay, Tritton & Co. remained here till
1818, when their number became 64. This bank now
occupies the whole block between George Alley and
George Yard, consisting of 61, 62, 58, 64, 65, and 5Q.
** No. 67. The sign of the house formerly on this
site was probably ' The Kam,' although in the deeds
of the property no special sign is named ; but from
the perusal of them we learn that, previous to the
Great Fire in 1666, * The George Inn,' stood here,
and afterwards two houses were erected on each side
of George Yard, the two on the west side of the
yard, described respectively as Snow's House, which
we know was No. 58, and Ward's House, which was
No. 67. Upon reference to the * Little London Direc-
tory,' of 1677, we find that Eobert Ward and John
Towneley were at * The Eam,' keeping running cashes ;
we do not know how long this firm existed, but
about 1750 we find, by a deed, that Mr. Fraser
Honeywood, banker, was here, whose business was
started about 1737, probably in the same house, by
Atkins, Honeywood & Fuller, and when they moved
into Birchin Lane in 1754, Mr. Henton Brown,
banker, came here ; in 1781 the firm had become
Collinson & Tritton. They occupied during — ihis
period the two houses, 57 and 68, which had been
made into one. Mr. Tritton joined the firm of
Messrs. Barclay & Bevan, and in 1787 Henry Gold-
finch occupied the house."
Oddly enough, no accurate account has yet been
given to the public of the nativity, nearly two centuries
ago, of this great bank. The tradition concerning
Mr. Barclay, the draper of Cheapside, and King
George, is but a fairy tale which contains only a few
grains of truth. When the grain is sifted from the
chaff, the story bears quite a different complexion.
Truth, however, is stranger than fiction, and my
readers will find it in this case quite as entertaining.
The date of its establishment is very uncertain, but
must have been prior to 1729, as the books of the
firm go back to that date. By the courtesy of one
of the directors we have had access to the oldest
ledger held by the bank, and the first entry is under
the date mentioned. The ledger, however, is marked
** S," and as in those days the books were distin-
guished by letters instead of numbers, it is clear that
many previous ledgers had been in use, so that, in
all probability, another forty or fifty years may be
added to the age of the bank. While speaking of
this ledger it will be of interest to learn that one of
the securities in which the surplus funds of the bank
were then invested was "the Lead Company's" shares,
which are still held by some of the partners, and
continue to yield a profitable revenue. There is
a record that in 1728 one of the then partners,
Joseph Freame, had purchased the freehold premises
in Lombard Street, at the corner of George Yard.
In that year, Joseph Freame, described as *' citizen
and goldsmith," traded in partnership with Thomas
Gould, and continued to do so under the style of
Gould & Freame, until 1736, when James Barclay
entered the firm, and it is at this stage in the
history of the bank that the name of Barclay first
appears, that James being the son of David, and
grandson of Kobert Barclay the Apologist. According
to a genealogical tree of the Barclays of Urie (dated
1812) which gives the history of the Barclays for
nearly 800 years, it appears that the main branch
of the Scotch family intermarried with the direct
descendants of Edward III. of England and Eobert III.
of Scotland, and it may be interesting to note that
the Barclays of Barclay, Perkins & Co. are also
connected with the same family. Thus it will be
gathered that the tale of the intrcduction of James
Barclay to the firm by the influence of George III.
is simply a myth. One thing is quite clear, that so
far back as the early part of the seventeenth century
the Barclays were in frequent touch with royalty, but
space will not permit us to give the many interest-
ing and fascinating records to be found amongst the
writings of old chroniclers.
The Be vans appear to have been connected with
this firm as far back as 1728. At all events, at
that date Silvanus Bevan figures among the clients of
the firm. The Bevan family is of Welsh extraction,
and can trace its pedigree farther back even than
that of the Barclays. The Mr. Silvanus Bevan
referred to, if not an actual partner in the firm,
was probably an ancestor of the first Mr. Bevan
who entered the Lombard Street house, whose descen-
dant, Mr. Francis Augustus Bevan, is now the chair-
man of the Bank. This gentleman was educated at
Harrow, under the late Dr. Vaughan, and entered the
firm of Barclay, Bovan, Tritton & Co., as it was
then called, on February 22nd, 1859. .
It was in 1786 that Mr. Jolm Henton Tritton
became a partner in the firm, and since that date
various members of his family have held that respon-
sible position. The present Mr. Joseph Herbert Tritton
is the great-great grandson of John Hinton, and is
one of the best known authorities in the banking
world. Holding the high position of honorary secre-
tary of the Bankers' Clearing House, the institution
which is the pulse of the financial world, he is also
one of the leading officials of the Institute of Bankers,
the Bankers' Association, the Association of Country
Bankers, the Bank Clerks' Orphanage, &c., &c.
In this volume we have not space at our disposal
to go at all adequately into the history of the
members now constituting the board of management,
nor can we deal with the remarkable life-story of
many of the century old banks absorbed. If we were
to do so we could fill volume after volume. So we
will deal very briefly with two only of the amalga-
mated banks — Eansom, Bouverie & Co. and Goslings,
Sharpe & Co.
Kansom, Bouverie, & Co.
On the absorption by Barclays of this old west-end
house the title of the establishment was altered to
Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Eansom, Bouverie & Co.
The house of Eansom & Co. dates back to 1746, when
it was called Eansom, Morland & Hammersley. It is
a curious fact that each of the partners subsequently
opened separate banking establishments. Mr. Hammers-
ley, in 1796, opened a house in Pall Mall, and
Mr. Morland, twenty-three years later, started a bank
of his own. In 1834 Messrs. Eansom & Co, removed
to 1 Pall Mall East, where they remained. In 1856
an amalgamation was effected with Messrs. Bouverie,
Murdock, Bouverie & James, of 11 Haymarket, when
the name was changed to Eansom, Bouverie & Co.
With regard to Mr. Hammersley's bank, various
partners were admitted from time to time, the firm
in 1823, being Hammersley, Greenwood & Brookshank.
They continued to conduct business as bankers till
1840, when they were absorbed by Messrs. Coutts & Co.
The premises which they occupied in Pall Mall were
subsequently taken by the London Joint- Stock Bank,
a branch of which was established there in 1842.
It was in 1888, June 23rd, that the announcement
of the amalgamation of this old bank with that of
Barclay, Bevan, Tritton & Co. first appeared, and,
it is needless to say, caused quite a flutter of surprise
amidst the banking fraternity.
Goslings & Sharpes,
or " The Three Squirrels," to give it its title of the
days of long ago, was absorbed by Barclays in 1896,
and most Londoners were sorry to see that one of
the old historic institutions of the metropolis had
sunk its identity by amalgamating, even with one of
the strongest and most progressive banks in the
country. The old house was next door to "The
Palace of Henry VIII. and Cardinal Wolsey." Even
to-day we can see on the new building which
Barclays have erected on the site of Goslings the
" three squirrels." It would have been a thousand
pities for this sign to have been removed, as Goslings
were goldsmiths and bankers upwards of two centuries
ago. So far back as 1650 one, Henry Pinckney, was
carrying on the business of goldsmith at this house.
It was about 1650 that the goldsmiths of Lombard
Street and the Cheap, began to migrate towards
Fleet Street and the Strand, and it is not unlikely
that Pinckney 's was the original business. The house
was destroyed in the Great Fire, and, to encourage
the landlord to re-build, Thomas Thorold included
the ground previously occupied by the adjoining house,
"The Holy Lambe." The present building includes
the sites of '* The Golden Dragon," " The Crown,"
*'The Wheatsheaf," "The Three Daggers," and ''The
Gun in Hand Alley" (otherwise "Hercules Pillars'
Mr. Hilton Price speaks of a draft drawn on
Sir Francis Child by the Earl of Gainsborough,
dated "Ye 12th of May, 1705," which runs as
follows : " Sir, — I desire you to pay unto Mr. Pinck-
ney, goldsmith, three days after sight of this, the
somme of forty-one pounds fourteen shillings." This
shows that "The Three Squirrels" and "Ye Mari-
gold" had business relationship.
Noble remarks : "It must have been about this
period (1674) that the name of Gosling first became
associated with the firm, for among several pay-
ments in the Secret Service Money of Charles II. and
James II. occurs this entry : ' To Richard Bokenham
in full for several parcels of gold and silver lace
bought of William Gosling and partners on May 2,
1674, by the Duchess of Cleaveland for the wedding
cloaths of the Lady Sussex and Lichfield, £646 8s, 6d.'"
We may enumerate here a few of the customers of
the bank whose names are of historical interest. Lord
Campbell, Lord Denman and Lord EUenborough kept
their accounts here, as did also Lord Clive and
Warren Hastings. Amongst literary celebrities are to
be found Law, Bishop of Carlisle; Percy, Bishop of
Dromore ; Alexander Pope and Samuel Richardson.
Of newspapers, The Times and The Morning Advertiser
were old customers. Such is a brief history of an
establishment with a remarkable history.
Subsequently Barclay & Co. have absorbed among
others the private firm of Marten, Part & Co., of
St. Albans, in 1892, and a few months later in the
same year the company were sufficiently fortunate to
procure the splendid and extensive business of the
York Union Bank. Several other banks have since
been added to the long hst of those which Barclay's
have taken over.
Below is a copy of the balance-sheet for the year
ended December 31st, 1904 : —
Liabilities. £ s. d.
lb Current, Deposit and other Accounts ... 36,392,416 14 11
,, Acceptances for Customers 141,884 1 4
„ Capital, viz. : —
346,500 shares of £20 each, £8 paid ... 2,796,608
„ Reserve Fund 1,250,000
£40,580,908 16 3
By Cash in hand and at
Bank of England
and with other
Bankers £5,023,183 2 11
„ Cash at Call and at
Short Notice ... 4,022,500
Assets. £ s. d.
9,045,683 2 11
„ Investments 8,649,314 12 10
,, Advances to Customers and Bills Dis-
counted, including Brokers' Bills ... 21,395,081 5 1
,, Liability of Customers for Acceptances (as
contra) 141,884 1 4
,, Balance of Bank Purchase Account ... 100,000
,, Bank Premises and adjoining Property ... 1,248,945 14 1
£40,580,908 16 3
The Capital & Counties' Bank.
This bank was, established more than seventy years
ago, although not under its present name. It was on
May-day, 1834, that the Hampshire Banking Company
first saw the light of day with its head office in
Southampton, but the lines on which it was started
were sufficient guarantee that there was a long life
before it. The original capital was £300,000, divided
into 6,000 shares of £50 each. At an extraordinary
meeting of the shareholders held on 30th October,
1839, it was decided (1) to increase the capital by
the creation of a further 2,000 shares ; and (2) to
authorise the board to pay half-yearly instead of
yearly dividends. These shares were issued at a pre-
mium of £3 each. In 1848 a call of £5 per share
was made ; and nine years later, the directors pro-
posed that £20,000 should be taken from the reserve
or guarantee fund and capitalised, by the issue to
the then shareholders, pro rata, of 2,000 new shares
at a premium of £2 per share. This wise move on
the part of the directors immediately enhanced the
repute which the bank already enjoyed, and, as
a matter of course, made it still more popular, while
business rapidly increased. In 1864 new capital being
issued at a premium of £4 per share, raised the
total paid up to £150,000, while the premiums being
added to the reserve increased that fund to £50,000.
In December, 1875, the paid-up capital stood at
£200,000. Two years later an important step was
taken, the title of the institution being altered to the
Hampshire & North Wilts Bank, when a further new
issue increased the capital to £300,000. From time to
time this item has been increased through new issues
necessitated by the acquisition of other businesses, or
by the demands made by the steady growth of the
legitimate business of the bank till at the present
time it amounts to no less than £1,500,000, while
the total subscribed is £7,500,000.
While the capital has been frequently augmented
the reserve fund has been well cared for, receiving
not only the benefit of premiums on new issues
from time to time, but also substantial subsidies out
of the annual profits, so that now this item, which
is of such special interest to the shareholders of any
bank, approaches a million pounds sterling.
Ths head office remained at Southampton till 1876,
when it was removed to London, and, in 1878, the
title was changed to the Capital and Counties' Bank,
and the company was registered as a limited concern
two years later. But though the bank has made
steady headway there have been times when, like its
competitors, it has keenly felt the strain of competi-
tion. After having entered the metropolis the one
great desire of the directors was to obtain a seat in
the Clearing House, but space there, then as now, was
very limited, and other competitors were in the field.
In the report for the year ended 30th June, 1877, the
following paragraph occurs : ** Shortly after commenc-
ing business in London the directors applied to be
admitted into the CleariDg House, but the committee,
which consists of London bankers, decline to accede
to the application. This decision has caused consider-
able inconvenience to bankers generally, and admittedly
to the London bankers themselves, as it has thrown
out of the Cleariug House the transactions of fifty
branch offices which have hitherto passed through that
channel, and has also added to the risk attendant
upon the collection, on both sides, of cheques and
other cash documents payable in London. The
directors have taken steps to mitigate, so far as
possible, the inconvenience to their country corres-
pondents, and they hope the time is not far distant
when the London bankers, who at present have the
exclusive privilege of entry to the Clearing House,
will take a broad view of the situation, and extend
the advantages of clearing to all bankers having City
offices." This wish is even now strongly endorsed
and re-echoed by bankers generally, but it will be
a long day before such a desirable result can be
arrived at. There are in the city many large banks
still debarred the advantage of having a seat in
Post Office Court, and though the Clearing House
authorities have exerted all their powers and exer-
cised all their ingenuity in enlarging and increasing
the accommodation of the building there must be
a limit, and hemmed in as the House is by other
buildings it seems to us that for many a year to
come no more banks can be admitted except by —
let us hope a highly improbable contingency — one or
other of those now occupying seats retiring. The
only other course by which increased accommodation
could be procured would be by the purchase of
a larger site and the consequent erection of a much
larger buildmg— an end to be most devoutly desired
by all London bank officials.
The first balance-sheet of the Hampshire Banking
Company, issued to the public in 1857, was as
follows : —
Dr. £ s. d.
To Paid-up Capital, being £10 per share on
8,000 Shares • 80,000
„ Guarantee Fund 20,990 1 4
„ Amount due to Customers on Deposit and
Current Accounts, and upon Drafts in
Circulation 531,392 8 10
„ Profit 24,249 19 9
£656,632 4 11
Cr. £ 8. d.
By Cash at Call, Bills Discounted, Loans, and
other Securities 649,632 4 11
„ Cost of Bank Premises 7,000
£656,632 4 11
Here we must call attention to the slow progress
the bank had made up to that date, when it had
been established about twenty-three years. This does
not sound very promising, but it must be remem-
bered that when the bank was first established,
Southampton, which was selected for the head-
quarters, had a population of some 85,000 only.
Compare that with the population to-day, and at
the same time compare the balance of current and
deposit accounts, £631,000, in 1857 with the
£28,251,167 of forty-seven years afterwards — the
amount of money entrusted to the custody of the
bank on current and deposit accounts at the date of
the last annual balance-sheet.
By glancing at the old balance-sheets a continuous
growth of the current and deposit accounts can be
noticed, but the enormous increase in the figures is
due to a considerable extent to the absorption of
other banking institutions — and such amalgamations
or absorptions have always been most judicious, and
turned out very successful. In 1840 an amalgama-
tion was effected with the Southern District Banking
Company, an opening which was exceedingly advan-
tageous to the bank, as it provided several establish-
ments in the Isle of Wight. In 1854 the private
firm of Wickham, Baily & Rawlins, of Winchester,
was absorbed; and, in 1861, the private bank of
Atkins & Son, of Portsmouth, was purchased. But
these were only the commencement of a policy to be
developed later. In 1863 the old established house of
Seymour & Co., of Basingstoke and Odiham, was
secured, and in 1878 +.he Hampshire Banking Company
bought up the English & Jersey Union Bank of
In 1876 the bank took a most important step in
advance — the head office was removed to London, and
bankers in the metropolis rightly assumed that this
was simply the prelude to further and greater develop-
ments. They had not to wait long, as the next
year it was announced that the North Wilts Banking
Company, with numerous branches and sub-branches,
had been secured. Then it was that the title of
the institution was altered to the Hampshire & North
"Wilts Bank, Limited, an unwieldy name, which was
soon after changed to the Capital & Counties' Bank,
Limited. In 1878, the old private house of Willis,
Percival & Co., of Lombard Street, having suspended
payment, the Capital & Counties came on the scene,
took the premises, bought the business, naturally
assuming that this step would secure a seat in
the House. This event did not come oif, however,
and the enterprising bank had to wait until the
Central and the London & South- Western had pre-
ceded it before the chance came for crossing the
sacred threshold of the Temple of Mammon. In 1888
two private banks were purchased — Haydon & Co., of
Guildford; and Locke, Tugwell & Meek, of Devizes.
We have already commented on the importance of
the absorption of the North Wilts Banking Company,
a still more far-reaching amalgamation was effected
in 1886, when the Capital & Counties procured the
Gloucestershire Banking Company, Limited, with no
less than forty-two offices in the west of England.
Still with an eagle eye on eligible openings for new
or extended business, the firm of Knight & Son, of
Farnham, was bought in 1886. Four years passed in
a state of quiescence so far as further extensions by
absorptions were concerned, but lost time was then
rapidly made up. In 1890 the Western Counties'
Bank was taken over, to be followed a little later
by the absorption of the Northamptonshire Banking
Company, which latter gave the Capital an open-
ing in a comparatively new direction. In 1891 the
two banks of Garfit, Claypon & Co., Limited, of
Boston, &c., and Watts, Whidborne & Co., of Teign-
mouth, &c., were procured. In 1893 the old established
houses of Mellersh & Co., of Godalming, and of
Wells, Hogge & Lindsell, of Baldock and elsewhere,
were procured. These are by no means all the kindred
institutions taken over, for, in 1901, the well-known
and greatly respected firm of Lacon, Youell & Co,.
of Yarmouth and elsewhere, was purchased, as was
also the splendid business of Moore & Eobinson's
Nottinghamshire Banking Company. The following
year the sound little "Cornish Bank" was procured,
and later the two coveted houses of Hammond,
Plumptre, Hilton <k Co. (of Canterbury), and
Foster & Co. (of Cambridge, &c.).
It must, however, be borne in mind, that while
the bank was thus rapidly extending its sphere of
influence by judicious amalgamations and absorptions,
it was at the same time rapidly catering for the
needs of its customers by opening branches and offices
in all directions. Although, of necessity the figures
which appear in the published balance-sheet have natur-
ally been greatly augmented by these many combina-
tions of interests, it must at the same time not be
forgotten that no little of the remarkable increase
in the liabilities to the public on current and deposit
accounts, and the bank's position to meet that liability
is caused by the steady and continuous increase of
a business, solidly founded, and well conducted.
The bank issues a balance-sheet annually, that for
the 80th June last being as follows, the figures will
speak for themselves : —
Liabilities. £ s. d.
To Capital, viz : —
150,000 Shares of £50 each, £10 paid... 1,500,000
„ Reserve Fund 900,000
,, Amount due on Current, Deposit and other
Accounts 28,251,167 14 9
„ Acceptances covered by Cash or Securities 457,625 6 2
„ Endorsements on Foreign Bills negotiated 16,439 2 2
Net Profits £322,604 4 8
Shares 3,466 13 4
tion ... 10,000
272,866 13 4
49,737 11 4
£31,174,969 14 5
Assets. £ 8. d.
By Cash at Head Office, Branches, and Bank
of England 4,558,908 9 5
„ Money at CaU and Short Notice 3,057,472 12 9
„ Investments 5,278,230 19 10
,, Bills Discounted, Loans and other Accounts 16,933,421 16 9
,, Liability of Customers for Acceptances as
per Contra 457,625 6 2
,, Liability of Customers for Endorsements
as per Contra 16,439 2 2
,, Banking Premises in London and Country 872,871 7 4
£31,174,969 14 5
Messrs. Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co.
This is one of the largest banks in London, the
amount and volume of its business being enormous.
Probably a larger volume of business is transacted
at 67 Lombard Street than at any other single insti-
tution in the country.
A very fair criterion as to the extent of the busi-
ness of any of the banks which are members of the
Bankers' Clearing House is the staff which it is
necessary to keep at the House itself in order to
carry through the daily transactions. There are not
many of the London clearing banks employing a larger
staff than Glyn's.
This firm sprung into existence about 1754 — the
exact dafce is uncertain — under the name of Vere,
Glyn, HalUfax & Co. In 1770 the firm consisted
of Sir Kichard Glyn, Knt. and Bart., and Thomas
Halhfax, and carried on business at 18 Birchin Lane.
In 1789 business was conducted at 12 Birchin Lane,
from which address in 1826 the bank was removed
to 67 Lombard Street, the premises which have ever
since been occupied by the firm.
The foUowmg remarks by Mr. Hardcastle, written
in 1842, anent this bank will be of interest: '^Glyn's,
in Lombard Street, is a complete contrast to that of
Coutts. Here, in addition to a large portion of the
accounts of the nobility and landed gentry, is the
greatest number of commercial accounts in London,
and here scenes of bustle and animation take place
daily, of which it is not easy to convey an adequate
idea. About three o'clock all is life, activity, and
vigour ; the* place is a fair, and more like a great
'change than the Royal Exchange itself used to be.
Though the bank is spacious, and the counters are
packed with clerks as close as they can stand together,
you may sometimes have to wait for twenty minutes
before your turn to be served arrives. Such is the
rush of business at Glyn's. Two mighty streams of
money are constantly ebbing and flowing across the
counters, and £500,000 is said to be no uncommon
sum for the firm to settle at the Clearing House of
an afternoon. In this respect Glyn's bank, more than
any other, is characteristic of the age. The rapid pro-
gress of modern discoveries, the exploring genius, the
accumulated strength and ponderous force of the in-
ventions and improvements of the nineteenth century,
are all represented in this one bank, and not by any
means to an equal extent in any other. The talent
by which this great concentration of interests has
been effected is of the highest order. It combines
intelligence of the most vivid character and judge-
ment of the keenest power. It draws even more
largely upon mental than upon pecuniary resources,
great as the latter unquestionably are, and is equally
felicitous and original.
** Old Mr. Lefevre, one of the principal founders
of Curries & Co.'s bank on Cornhill, and the father
of the then Speaker of the House of Commons,
illustrated his theory of banking one day in a signi-
ficant manner. The customer in question was one
of those men who find it very convenient to have
bad memories. His account was almost always over-
drawn, and whenever spoken to upon the subject his
answer was the same, ' He really had forgotten how
it stood.' At last Mr. Lefevre, who had watched
his opportunity, caught him one day at the counter
and said to him, ' Mr. , you and I must under-
stand one another something better than we seem
to do. I am afraid you don't know what banking
is; give me leave to tell you. It's my business to
take care of your money ; but I find you are always
taking care of mine. Now that is not banking
Mr. , it must be the other way. I'm the
banker, not you; you understand me now, Mr. ,
I'm sure you do.' Mr. Lefevre, though a very silent
and reserved character, was not without his vein of
sly humour. One day he happened to have at
dinner a great talker — one of those monstrous bores
who will speak without ever saying anything worth
listening to ; who seem to think it an essential con-
dition of existence that a man should never cease
to hear the sound of his own voice, and who continue
talking incessantly as if the hidden principle of per-
petual motion lay in the tongue. After enduring this
volume of sound — signifying nothing — for some time
with exemplary patience, Mr. Lefevre, to the aston-
ishment of the company, very quietly suppressed the
nuisance by taking advantage of a short pause in his
monopolylogue, and simply observing, 'You need not
talk any more Mr. , if you don't like it.* "
In 1851 the bank was Glyn, Mills & Co., which
name it -retained till 1864, when an amalgamation
was effected with the old house of Curries & Co., of
Cornhill, frora which date the name has been Glyn,
Mills, Currie & Co.
The firm of Curries & Co., started in 1773 after
the failure of Neale, James, Fordyce & Co., at
89 Cornhill, under the name of Mason, Currie,
James & Yallowly. Yallowly was formerly a clerk
in the employ of Neale, James, Fordyce & Co., and
James, who appears as a partner in the one firm,
was probably identical with the James of the ether.
Various changes took place in the firm, till in 1814
it was known as Curries, Eaikes & Co. In 1827 the
title was changed to Currie & Co., and fifteen years
later an amalgamation took place between this house
and that of Dorrien & Co., of Finch Lane. In 1864,
as already stated, Curries & Co. and Glyn, Mills & Co.
amalgamated. The firm of Dorriens & Co. was estab-
lished in Finch Lane so far back as 1770 under the
name of Dorriens, Euckers & Carleton.
It has already been mentioned that Curries & Co.
started business after the failure of Neale, James,
Fordyce & Co. Of this latter firm Fordyce, its
head, was originally only a clerk. He — at one time
an Aberdeen hosier — when employed by the banking
house, showed so much aptitude and abihty that he
was soon elected as a partner, the house then being
known as Koffrey, Neale & James, but the spirit of
speculation took possession of him, and meeting with
success he soon made use of his partners' funds as
well as his own. Success attended all his efforts,
he on one occasion making £100,000 by a single
stroke. He bought an estate, married a lady of
title, and contributed liberally to all sorts of charit-
able institutions. His partners were proud of the
ability of their colleague.
But, as is usual, success of that kind cannot con-
tinue for ever, and sooner or later a check comes.
Fordyce proved no exception to this rule. A specu-
lation into which he had entered turned out disas-
trously, and he lost £100,000 over it. Other losses
followed, and the guardian spirit, which hitherto had
assisted him, apparently completely changed its tactics,
and lured him to his ruin. Failure after failure —
and heavy ones, too — compelled him to draw more
and more on the resources of the firm. His co-
partners became frightened and expostulated, but all
to no purpose. His plans were keen and well laid
as ever, but circumstances appeared leagued against
him. In spite of the continued run of ill-luck he kept
cool, calm, collected, dignified, as in his palmiest days.
But it was impossible that he could long sustain
the enormous strain upon him, and one day he was
not at his post at the banking house. His partners
were greatly concerned, as the affairs were in a most
unsatisfactory condition, and became alarmed at his
continued absence. Soon the bank stopped payment.
A great consternation and much indignation was the
consequence, in the midst of which Fordyce returned.
He made a confession which entirely exonerated his
partners from all blame ; he stated that he alone
was the guilty party.
The stoppage of the house had a wide and disas-
trous effect. Many other houses had to suspend
payment, amongst others were Glyn & Hallifax, but
they resumed in a few days. It is said that Drum-
mond's were only saved by General Smith, who
advanced them £150,000. Two city gentlemen, ruined
by the stoppage, shot themselves.
It is due to Fordyce to say that when he found
the close corner into which his speculations were
driving him he made the most strenuous efforts to
bolster up the house which was tottering to its fall.
There is a good tale told of one person to whom
he made application. He went one day to a Quaker
and applied for assistance, putting his case, no doubt,
in a very strong Hght. The Quaker listened atten-
tively, and then remarked, ** Friend Fordyce, I have
known many men ruined by two dice, but I will not
be ruined by four dice."
Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co. were the first of the
private banks to adopt the joint- stock system of
issuing balance-sheets. The business has been built
up by a series of very able men, such as the first
Lord Wolverton, Mr. G. Carr Glyn (chairman of the
London & North- Western Eailway), Mr. Charles Mills
(afterwards Sir Charles Mills, a wealthy West Indian
merchant), Sir Charles Mills, the first Lord Hilling-
don, the Hon. Pascoe C. Glyn (chairman of the
London & Brazilian Bank), Mr. B. W. Currie (son
of Eaikes Currie, formerly M.P. for Northampton and
member of the Indian Council, who was the first
person applied to by the Bank of England over the
The following extract from a book published in
1842 will doubtless be of interest* : ** Attempts have
* ** Banks and BankerB," by Daniel Hardcastle, jun.
been made to emulate this unexampled fortune, but
they have proved abortive. The persons who made
them have not been at all equal to the aspiration ;
they have been deficient in the knowledge of their
own business as much as in knowledge of mankind,
without which there can be no good or safe banking,
and have exhibited sad examples of rashness and
credulity, improvidence and culpability. Some have
formed branch mercantile firms and embarked in the
tea trade, some in the East India, and some in the
American trades, while a still greater number have in-
volved themselves in the favourite speculations of their
customers, until house after house have shared the
common reverses of commerce, and suffered the fate
of the various adventures, which, after first running
them to a dead lock-up, have forced them to succumb
in poverty and disgrace to one or other of the
repeated shocks by which the credit of the mercantile
and manufacturing interests of Great Britain have
been of late years so disastrously assailed. No faults
of this kind appear to have been committed at Glyn's
Bank, the partners of which, taking admirable advan-
tage of circumstances, have turned the spirit of the
age largely to their profit, without violating the
established principles of sound and legitimate banking.
"If there were half-a-dozen houses in London such
as Glyn's, one would be inclined to contend that
private banking has not yet reached the climax of
its prosperity. But, seeing as we do, that every
year diminishes the number of private banks in
London and in the country ; that, on the other hand,
joint- stock banks are everywhere on the increase,
while not a single new private co-partnership in
banking is now formed ; it seems but reasonable to
believe that the general law of change which applies
to everything in this world, and those alterations in
maturity and decay which occur in all that nature
creates or the art of man produces, will, ere long,
work the ordinary effects in banking also, If so,
we are in a state of transition as to banking, and
the results will be not the less decided and complete
because it will be neither precipitate nor unexpected.'*
In his very interesting book ** The Signs of Old
Lombard Street," Mr. Hilton Price, referring to the
premises of this bank, says : *' No. 67. This house
was supposed to occupy the site of ' The Anchor,'
but which * Anchor,' whether • The Anchor and Three
Crowns ' or • The Blew Anchor ' we cannot tell ; but
Messrs. Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co. possess a tradition
that the house was ' The Anchor,' therefore there is
little doubt about it. This house has not much
history. In 1801 Messrs. Bowles, Brown & Co.,
bankers, occupied it for a few years, and in 1827
Messrs. Glyn, Mills & Co. took the house, having
moved out of Birchin Lane. No. 67 was the resi-
dence of Sir Martin Bowes, who died in 1666, seized
of * The White Lion,' in the parish of St. Mary
Woolnoth, Lombard Street, leaving it to his son
Thomas by will. It has always been supposed that
Sir Martin left this house to the Goldsmiths' Com-
pany; it is quite certain that it belongs to them,
and has done so since 1610. This is the second
time Messrs. Glyn & Co. had premises in Lombard
Street. They now occupy a very large block from
Birchin Lane on the east to Change Alley on the
west, comprising Nos. 68 to 67, and all the houses
in the rear to Change Alley on the north."
In his ** Handbook of London Bankers," Mr. Hilton
Price says : '• This firm, which has the reputation
of having a larger business than any private bank-
ing house in the city of London, appears to have
commenced in Lombard Street (so far as can be
told by ' The Little London Directory ') between the
years 1740 to 1754, the precise date being difficult
to ascertain in consequence of no list of bankers
being forthcoming for the interval between those two
dates. The style of the firm in 1754 was Vere,
Glyn, & Hallifax. There is little doubt that the
firms of Vere, Glyn & Co. and Vere, Asgill & Co.
had a common origin, and were started by Mr. Joseph
Vere, and that between 1752 and 1754 a dissolution
took place in the partnership, as we find upon a cash
note of Messrs. Samuel Child & Co., of September,
1752, the following endorsement: *J. Meredith, wit-
ness, T. Huck, for Messrs. Vere, Asgill & Co.' ;
and upon a similar note of Child & Backwell's in
February, 1754, * Eobert Carr, witness T. Huck, for
Messrs. Vere, Glyn & Co.'"
The latter firm moved to Birchin Lane, whereas
Asgill & Co. remained in Lombard Street. In 1754,
Henry Milton witnessed signatures for the firm, and
he was subsequently admitted into the partnership.
In 1770, their house in Birchin Lane was numbered
18, and the firm consisted of Sir Kichard Glyn,
knight and baronet, M.P. for the City of London,
Alderman of Dowgate Ward, and a colonel in the
City Militia ; and Thomas Hallifax, who was Alderman
of Aldersgate Ward. About 1773 Sir Eichard Glyn
retired, and Sir Thomas Hallifax became the head of
the firm, and admitted three partners, the firm in
that year consisting of Sir Thomas Hallifax, Mills,
E. C. Glyn & Milton. The next change to be noted
was in 1777, when Mr. Charles Mills came into the
firm as fourth partner. In 1788 or 1784 Mr. Mills,
senior's name disappeared from the firm, which be-
came Sir Thomas Hallifax, Eichard Carr Glyn, Charles
Mills & Henry Milton. In 1789 the name of Sir
Thomas Hallifax is not seen, and the business was
conducted at 12, Birchin Lane, by E. C. Glyn,
Mills & Milton. About 1790, according to the
''Directory," Eichard Carr Glyn was knighted. In
1791 the firm was Glyn, Mills, Hallifax & Co., and
it continued so until 1811, when the style of the firm
became Glyn, Mills, Hallifax, Glyn & Co., so re-
maining until 1823, when another Mr. Mills came
into it. In 1826 they moved to their present pre-
mises, No. 67, Lombard Street, which house belongs
to the Goldsmiths' Company, having been left to
them by Sir Martin Bowes, the eminent goldsmith,
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The^, style of the
firm was again altered in 1830 to Sir E. C. Glyn,
Hallifax, Mills & Co., consisting of Thomas Hallifax,
Charles Mills, Sir Richard P. Glyn, Bart., George
Carr Glyn, Thomas Hallifax, junr. and Edward Wheler
Mills. In 1851 it became Glyn, Mills & Co., which
it continued to be till 1864, when an amalgamation
was effected with the old firm of Curries & Co., since
which time the style of the firm has been Glyn,
Mills, Currie & Co.
The balance-sheet, dated 81st Januuary, 1904,
showed as follows : —
Thibty-Ninth Statement of Assets and
3l8T December, 1904.
Capital Paid up
Reserve for Premises
Liabilities on Account of Acceptances,
Endorsements, &c. (covered by
Securities), not included in Balance-
sheet : —
£1,434,255 12 11
Cr. Assets. £ s. d.
By Cash in Hand and at Bank of England 1,791,212 6 5
„ Money at Call and at Short Notice ... 4,346,545 2
i, Investments : —
,, Two and a-half per cent. Con-
sols and Exchequer Bonds... 1,500,000
„ Securities of, or guaranteed
by the British Government 1,273,858 9 8
„ Government of India and
Colonial Government Se-
2,838,598 9 8
Bills Discounted, Loans and other Securities 6,215,337 Oil
Bank Premises 180.000
Lloyds' Bank, Limited.
The largest bank in the world I Such, in a few
words, is a true definition of Lloyds' Bank. Of
course in making such a sweeping assertion we
entirely exclude those banks holding Government
deposits. We take the various banking institutions
with the Government balances, if any, deleted, and
contend that Lloyds is the largest bank in the
world. In comparatively few years it has attained
this proud position, which can be mainly attribut-
able to wise direction, careful forethought, admirable
organization, and an immediate grasp of valuable
opportunities which presented themselves for judicious
amalgamations and absorptions. Lloyds' Bank repre-
sents a combination of all sorts of interests : it has
been the pioneer of bank amalgamations and absorp-
tions : it has out-distanced all its competitors and
out-passed all its rivals. No opportunity of a really
sound acquisition of business has been allowed to
slip : a hawk's eye seems to have been kept on all
available chances, and these have been acted upon
without a moment's delay.
When one glances back over past years one almost
feels disposed to question whether the progress has
not been too great, the amalgamations and absorp-
tions too frequent, the rapid increase of business too
rapid for the bank to adequately deal with it. But
to all these doubts and fears the published audited
balance-sheets give a most emphatic denial. The
career of Lloyds has been one of uninterrupted pro-
gress. Of course, when banking business has been
very bad, this institution, like the bulk of the others,
has had to drop its dividend, but that is merely
a matter of account. In prosperous years a large
proportion of the profits have been added to the
reserve fund, so that the shareholders in "lean"
years are quite satisfied that their material interests
are well looked after ; with the result that there is
now the substantial sum of £2,600,000 laying at the
disposal of the directors for the purposes of the bank
business or for the equalization of dividends. So far
as we can see there has not been, from its incep-
tion till the present day, one single slip in the
management of this now gigantic financial institution.
Let us go somewhat into its family history, for it
is always interesting to most people to turn over old
leaves. Although Lloyds' Bank, Limited, seems to
many of us a comparatively recent institution it will
not do to forget the fact that its origin dates back
as far as 1764 or 1765. It was on the 20th April,
one hundred years later, that Lloyds' Banking Com-
pany, Limited, was incorported with a nominal capital
of £2,000,000 divided into 40,000 shares of £50 each.
The institution was formed by the amalgamation of
two old private houses — Lloyds & Co. (better known
as the Birmingham Old Bank) and Moilliet & Sons,
who were also private bankers of Birmingham. The
following extract from the original prospectus is well
worth reading : —
** After allotting 12,000 shares to Messrs.
Lloyds & Co. and Messrs. Moilliet & Sons, it
is proposed to issue 12,500 at a premium of
£6 each, and this, it is estimated, will raise
a sum equal to the amount required to be
paid for the purchase of the goodwill, so that
the whole amount to be received for deposits,
and subsequent calls may be used for the
purposes of the bank. It is proposed that the
remaining 16,000 shares shall be reserved for
issue at such premiums, at such times, and to
such persons as the directors shall consider
most conducive to the interests of the bank.
The surplus premiums, if any, not required
for the payment of the goodwill will be carried
to the reserve fund, and it is intended that
until such fund, arising from this source and
from profits, shall amount to a sum equal to
one-fifth of the paid-up capital no dividend
shall be paid exceeding 10 per cent, per
annum on the amount of paid-up capital."
It was arranged that a deposit of £5, in addition
to the premium, should be paid on the shares issued,
and that further calls on the shares should be £2 10s.
each. Then comes a most important condition, which
shows that from the very first the bank recognised
the importance of holding a substantial amount of
reserved capital — to meet all requirements, available
in case of need — the paragraph continuing: —
*' The aggregate calls will not exceed £12 10s.
per share ; the remaining £87 10s. is to be
available for the ultimate security of the bank."
It has been by this wise prescience that a great deal
of the latter success of Lloyds has been due.
No sooner had the bank started, and its principles
were known and appreciated, than support came in
from all sides. The intending customer knew full
well that if Lloyds **took" his account he would
be treated both fairly and well, that the reputation
of the bank would most certainly reflect most materi-
ally on his credit, and that the authorities would
always be most willing to meet him in a fair spirit.
The reputation which Lloyds at once enjoyed has
been continuously maintained, despite the changes which
have taken place in the board of management. The
motto of the bank, all through, seems to have been
"Onward," and by judicious extensions, courtesy,
and sound business arrangements they have had a con-
tinuous run of prosperity on the path of progress.
And it must not be thought for a moment that the
directorate have yet achieved the end of their ambi-
tion, for it is a common remark in the city, *' What
is Lloyds intending to do next ? "
During the first year of its existence Lloyds absorbed
the Wednesbury Old Bank (Messrs. F. & H. Williams)
and when the first balance-sheet was issued the deposits
exceeded £1,000,000. It is more than probable that
a copy of the first published balance-sheet may be of
interest. Here it is : —
3l8T Dbcember, 1865.
Deposit, Current, and other Accounts
Profit and Loss
Cash in Hand, at Bank of England, and at
Bills of Exchange
Advances on Current Accounts, Loans on
Stocks, Purchase Account, and other
Bank Premises, Furniture, Fittings, &c.
Preliminary Expenses, less Amount written
It "was in 1866 that Lloyds first appeared as
a power in the amalgamating world, and commanded
the attention which has since been devoted to this
great institution. It was in that year that the
Warwick & Leamington Banking Company and the
Stafford Old Bank (Stevenson, Salt & Co.) were taken
over — two old institutions with very wide- spread con-
nections in their respective districts. In 1868 the
business of Messrs. A. Bullin & Son (the Rugby
Old Bank) was secured, and four years later terms
of amalgamation were arranged with the Wolverhamp-
ton Old Bank (R. & W. F. Fryer). Two years after-
wards Lloyds made a purchase of the Shropshire
Banking Company. From that date the bank con-
tinued to increase the grip already held of the Mid-
lands — the total of the current and deposit accounts
exceeding five millions sterling. It was in 1879 that
a purchase of the Coventry & Warwickshire Banking
Company was made, and the following year the busi-
ness of Beck & Co. (the Shrewsbury & Welshpool
Old Bank) was secured. After these developments
there came a lull in the tide of absorptions and
amalgamations. The financial world was on the qui
vive, as it was well known that Lloyds had not
come to a full stop. All bankers were on the alert
as to what the next surprise would be — in what direc-
tion would be the next spring. Year after year
passed without any further developments, except that
the total of the current and deposit accounts steadily
and largely increased. Then, in 1884, came the
announcement that terms of amalgamation had been
arranged with two of the best known private houses
in Lombard Street — two of the old London landmarks
— Barnett, Hoares & Co. and Bosanquet, Salt & Co.
— the former of which was established in 1677,
and the latter in 1796. Of each of these we shall
say more towards the close of this chapter. The
name of the large and growing institution was, on the
2nd April, 1889, altered to Lloyds, Barnetts & Bosan-
quets' Bank, Limited. It is a great mistake for any
bank to have too long and cumbrous a title, and
soon the directors of Lloyds recognising this, proposed
a resolution, which was immediately adopted, that
once more the name of the bank should be Lloyds'
Bank, Limited, only.
But up to this period the amalgamations which
Lloyds were destined to effect had scarcely begun.
In 1888 the business of the private bankers, Pritchard,
Gordon & Co. (of Broseley and Bridgnorth) was
acquired, and the next year the Birmingham Joint-
Stock Bank, Limited, and the Worcester City & County
Banking Company, Limited, were absorbed.
The entre to the London Clearing House by the ex-
ceedingly judicious amalgamation with Barnett & Hoares
was then beginning to tell its own tale, and no bank-
ing official afterwards was in the least degree surprised
at anything they heard about Lloyds.
In 1890 the bank secured, by purchase or absorp-
tion, the two century old private houses of Wil-
kins & Co. (founded in 1778), and Beechings & Co.
(of Tunbridge "Wells, Tonbridge, Hastings, &c.).
Having thus got well established in the south of
England the directors strengthened their position by
purchasing the business of Cobb & Co. (of Margate)
— a business established in 1785. The same year they
procured the bank of Hart, Fellows & Co., of Not-
tingham (1808). It was in this year, too, that a very
important private institution in the city of London was
secured — that of Messrs. Praed & Co., of Fleet Street,
one of the old firms of goldsmiths. Not content even
with this splendid stroke, nor with the fact that the
balance of current and deposit accounts now exceeded
£21,000,000, Lloyds, in 1892, was fortunate enough
to secure the business of the widely known old bank-
ing firm of Richard Twining & Co., of the Strand.
During the same year the Bristol & West of England
Bank was taken over, and by this judicious move
Lloyds obtained a footing in Wales and the west
of England, hitherto not obtainable ; and they have
not been slow in making the most of it. This one
step had given the bank forty fresh offices. The
following year the business of Curteis, Pomfret & Co.,
of Rye, was secured, and soon after terms of arrange-
ment were made for amalgamation with or absorp-
tion of Herries, Farquhar & Co., of St. James's
Street, — the firm, one of the earlier partners, or
founders, of which has been quite erroneously credited
with the honour of being the inventor of circular
notes, which, as a matter of fact were, it has been
clearly proved, in current use in the flourishing days
of Nineveh. This arrangement gave the bank a splendid
west-end and aristocratic connection, and increased its
In 1894 the business of Bromage & Co. (established
1819) the Old Bank, Monmouth, was absorbed. In
1895 Lloyds were very fortunate in securing the busi-
ness of Paget & Co., of Leicester, a rich bank,
remarkably well connected, which was founded in
1825. The absorption of Williams & Co., the Old
Bank, Chester, strengthened the position still further
in the north-west of England. As the bank had
been established since 1792, it will be readily admitted
that its connection was considerable. During the same
year a very discreet move in advance was made by
the purchase of the County of Gloucester Bank, the
many branches of which tended to foster the growth
of the already extensive business of Lloyds in that
district. In 1898 the tiny bank of Jenner & Co.
was purchased, but in 1899 the more than century
old private banking house of Stephen Blandy & Co.,
of Beading, was procured, and the same year terms
of amalgamation were arranged with the wealthy
Burton Union Bank, Ltd.
These amalgamations, however, were only a prelude
to the next grand coup for which Lloyds were pre-
paring. Much had already been doue, much more
had to be done ; the financial world had been sur-
prised before, now it was going to be far more
startled, with such a shock as it had not experienced
since the notice of the banks taken over by Barclay
some years before. In the year 1900 it was announced
that terms of amalgamation had been arranged with
Cunliffes, Brooks & Co., Manchester, &c. (estab-
Brooks & Co., London (established 1864).
William Williams, Brown & Co. Leeds (estab-
Brown, Janson & Co., London (established 1813).
Vivian, Kitson & Co., Torquay Bank (estab-
Liverpool Union Bank, Limited.
The importance of the acquisition of the first four
in the above list will be readily recognised, but,
perhaps, it may be that the purchase of Cunliffe
Brooks, of Manchester, and the Liverpool Union Bank
may have weighed heavier in the opinions of the
banking world, since by procuring these two institu-
tions Lloyds became a power to be reckoned with in
the palatine county — a position the bank had not
After a lull of two years the exceptionally good
business of Messrs. Pomfret, Burra & Co., the bank
of Ashford, Kent, was secured, as was also the sound
little connection of the Bucks & Oxon Bank, Limited.
In 1903 the directorate took an exceptionally wise
step in securing the magnificent business of Hodgkin,
Barnett & Co., of Newcastle- on-Tyne and elsewhere.
It is true that this bank was only started in 1859,
but in the troublous times through which the north
of England has passed, it has made its mark, and
has a history quite its own. The same year the
business of Grant, Maddison & Co., of Portsmouth,
The report of the directors for the year ended
81st December, 1904, presented to the shareholders
at the forty-seventh ordinary general meeting, held in
Birmingham on the 27th January, 1904, was as
follows : —
*' The available profit for the past year, including
the amount brought forward, after payment of salaries,
pensions, other charges and expenses, and the annual
contribution of £4,000 to the Provident and Insurance
Fund, and making full provision for rebate, bad debts
and contingencies, is £764,315 3s. 9d. Out of this
an interim dividend at the rate of 17 J per cent, per
annum, free of Income Tax, amounting to £310,450,
was paid for the half-year ended the 30th day of
June last ; £30,000 has been written off the Bank
Premises Account, and £33,653 16s. Od. has been
applied in payment of Income Tax on the dividends,
etc. From the balance remaining, your directors
recommend that a dividend of 15s. per share, being
at the rate of ISf per cent, per annum for the past
half-year, amounting to £332,625, be now declared,
and that the balance, £57,586 8s. 9d., be carried
forward to the Profit and Loss Account of the
present year. Mr. Edward Nettlefold, of Harborne
Hall, Birmingham, has been elected to a seat on the
Board in the place of the late Sir Thomas Salt,
Bart. The directors who retire at this meeting are
Messrs. Charles Edward Barnett, J. B. Close Brooks,
and Augustus William Summers. They are all eligible,
and offer themselves for re-election."
The balance-sheet for the year 1904 was as below : —
Liabilities. £ s. d.
Current, Deposit, and other Accounts, includ-
ing Rebate of Bills and provision for Con-
Profit and Loss Balance, as per Account below
Bills Accepted or Endorsed
Liabilities in respect of Customers' Loans
to Brokers, fully secured... £48,500
56,163,714 16 10
390,211 8 9
Capital Paid up, viz., 443,500 Shares of £50
each, £8 per Share paid 3,548,000
Reserve Fund 2,600,000
Assets. £ s. d.
Cash in hand and with the Bank of England 9,710,106 19 2
Cash at CaU and Short Notice 4,716,903 3 9
Bills of Exchange 6,996,079 11 6
Consols (at 85) and other British Government
Securities 6,144,919 9 5
Indian and Colonial Government Securities,
Corporation Stocks, English Railway De-
benture and Preference Stocks, and other
Investments 4,009,192 11
31,577,201 14 10
Advances to Customers and other Securities... 29,586,94115 6
Liabilities of Customers for Bills Accepted or
Endorsed by the Company 3,569,124 3 5
Bank Premises (after appropriation from
Profit, as below) 1,537,782 15 3
Barnett, Hoabe & Co.
A few words as to this old house may be of
interest. Mr. F. G. Hilton Price states that it
probably was one of the oldest businesses in London.
For many years the bank occupied the site of the
premises then known as *' The Black Horse," and
it is interesting to note that during the last jubi-
lations in the city, the old houses displaying their
signs, Lloyds flaunted their '* Black Horse." From
•• The Little London Directory " for 1677 it appears
that a goldsmith of the name of Humph. Stocks
was at ** The Black Horse," in Lombard Street.
"Now it appears from Pepys' Diary," says Mr. Price,
"that Mr. Stokes, as he was pleased to call him,
was in existence in his time, fully twelve years
earlier. He was probably Samuel Pepys' own gold-
smith, and it was with him most likely that he kept
his private account. That he bought his plate, &c.,
of him is proved by the following extracts from the
diary. The account Pepys kept with Alderman Back-
wall looks more like an official one than one of
a private character. Under date 10th June, 1665,
he writes : * Seeing and saluting Mrs. Stokes, my
little goldsmith's wife, in Paternoster Eow, and there
bespoken a silver chafing dish for warming plates.'
Again, under date 2nd September, 1666, he writes :
• And among others I now saw my little goldsmith
Stokes receiving some friend's goods, whose house itself
was burned down the day after.' " In 1740 Messrs.
John Bland & Son were at "The Black Horse,"
but it was not till 1761 that the name of Barnett
appeared for the first time, when the firm was known
as Bland, Barnett & Co. Five years later the firm
was known as Bland & Barnett. In 1770 the sign
of "The Black Horse" became known as QQ Lom-
bard Street, and about 1772-3 Mr. Samuel Hoare
entered the firm as a partner. In 1790 Mr. Bar-
nett, junr., was introduced to the firm, which was
then known as Barnett, Hoare, Hill & Barnett. Mr.
Hill became a partner in 1780, but the list of 1808
shows that then he had left the firm. In 1826 the
title of the bank was altered to Barnett, Hoare & Co.,
and remained so till 1864, when an amalgamation was
effected with Ilanbury, Lloyds & Co., when it was
again altered, this time to Barnetts, Hoares, Han-
burys & Lloyd, the business being then conducted in
both 60 and 62 Lombard Street. But very few
changes took place till the union with Lloyds & Bosan-
quets in 1884.
Messrs. Bosanquet, Salt & Co.
This bank, to which reference has already been
made in this chapter, was established as far back
as 1800, when Mr. Bosanquet, who had been a mem-
ber of the firm of Sir William Leman, Balles, Fur ley,
Lubbock & Co. since 1785 left, and entering into
partnership with Messrs. Beachcroft & Reeves, started
a separate establishment at 78 Lombard Street, under
the title of Bosanquet, Beachcroft & Keeves. In
1810 the firm was entitled Bosanquet, Beachcroft,
Pitt & Anderson, Seven years later the name of
Beachcroft had disappeared, and that of Franks was
added, the house then heing known as Bosanquet,
Pitt, Anderson & Franks. Mr. Whatman joined the
bank in 1822, and we note that in the list of
bankers for 1839 the name Pitt does not appear in
connection with the firm. In 1843 Mr. S. Bosanquet
died, and in the following year the firm was called
Bosanquet & Franks. Mr. W. G. Whatman becoming
partner in 1843 his name was added to the title of
the firm. In 1855 Mr. Harman entered the firm,
and eleven years subsequently Mr. Franks retired.
In 1868 an amalgamation was effected with the
Stafford Bank — Messrs. Stevenson & Salt — an institu-
tion founded in 1787. ]n 1872 the title of the firm
was Bosanquet. Salt, Whatman, Harman, Salt, Bosan-
quet & Whatman, but when Lloyds came to London
in 1887 and took over this old house and that of
Barnetts Hoares the name of the amalgamated banks
was altered to Lloyds, Barnetts & Bosanquets' Bank,
Limited, only to be curtailed at a later date, as
In "Wade's Chronology" there is a paragraph
which probably refers to one of the partners of the
firm of Bosanquet & Co. : —
*'0n the 4th April, 1798, Messrs. Hellish,
Bosanquet & Pole, merchants of the city, were
stopped by three highwaymen on Honnslow
Heath. After robbing them, without resistance,
of their money and watches, one of the
robbers wantonly fired into the chaise and
mortally wounded Mr. Mellish."
The London & County Banking Company, Limited.
It was not long after the establishment of the
London & Westminster Bank — only two years — when
there was founded the Surrey, Kent & Sussex Bank-
ing Company, which, in 1836, started business in
High Street, Soufchwark. The principle inculcated by
Mr. Gilbart had taken root, with the result that many
were, disposed to adopt it as their own. Every year
showed that Mr. Gilbart had hit on the right idea,
catering for the small tradesmen, the middle class, as
opposed to the rule that then obtained of allowing
only the well to do and wealthy to have the privilege
of "keeping a banker."
When the London & County first started business
as stated above the competition with and opposition
from the private bankers was exceedingly keen, and
so far as the latter were concerned, virulent. The
private bankers considered the new joint-stock banks
as interlopers founded and carried on with a view
of ruining or seducing the business which had been
in their band3 for centurieg. This had to be stopped
at any cost, every possible obstacle must be thrust in
the way; under no circumstances whatever could joint-
stock banks be allowed to get a footing in the metro-
polis. Still more, every influence possible must be
brought to bear to prevent these " new fangled " so
called banks from entering the sacred precincts of the
Clearing House. Would these new institutions accept
as a customer a man who could only keep as a balance
of his current account JBSO, £25, or £20? Then,
that being so, they had no right to call themselves
bankers ; the whole fabric of existing banking tradi-
tions must fall I And yet, strange to say, these new
institutions not only flourished apparently, but in-
creased in number. Not content with one office they
opened branches, and what was still worse they seemed
to be constantly increasing their business.
But the strenuous opposition of the private bankers
was of no avail. The joint-stock banks had " come
to stay," and not all the concentrated energy of the
descendants of the goldsmiths, backed by the en-
venomed jealousy of the Old Lady of Threadneedle
Street, could stop their progress. There had been
a revolution, and a successful one, too.
When the Surrey, Kent & Sussex Banking Com-
pany was formed it was prepared to fight for its
rights — and did so. There was no intention on the
part of the directors to allow themselves to be
quietly crushed out of the running. That this was
their view is abundantly proved from the following
excerpt from a report which appeared in the very
early days of the bank : —
"It (the bank) offers to individuals the opportunity
of becoming their own bankers. As shareholders they
participate in the profits of their accounts. If they
require accommodation, a part of the consideration
they pay for it returns to them. If they deposit,
the amount is doubly fruitful. First, they receive
from the bank interest on the sum deposited; and,
secondly, they share in the profit which the bank
itself makes by the use of their investments. In
a word, private individuals, instead of giving the
profit of their accounts to private bankers, by becom-
ing shareholders in this and other joint- stock banks
divide it among themselves."
There was the gauntlet thrown down. The
London & County practically challenged the private
bankers to do their worst. They were quite pre-
pared to stand or fall by their principles ; they
made an offer to the public which no private bank
could do, and at the same time it became well
known that the London & County were as willing
to accept small accounts as large ones. And that is
the whole essence of the principle of joint-stocTc
In 1837 the head office was removed to 71 Lom-
bard Street, and in 1841 the business of Hector
Lacey & Co., of Petersfield, and that of Emmer-
son & Co., of Sandwich, were taken over. Almost
immediately after the bank was opened for business,
branches were established at Brighton, Maidstone,
Canterbury, Sevenoaks, Croydon, Tonbridge, Lewes,
Tunbridge Wells and AVoolwich. In 1842 the firm
of Davenport, Walker & Co., of Oxford, and three
years later that of J. Stovell, of Petworth, were
absorbed. Thus it will be seen at quite an early
date the London & County commenced to absorb
other concerns, but, it must be noted, that the
amalgamation mania has not affected them, for with
the exception of two or three more fusions we shall
mention directly, the bank has stood absolutely and
entirely on its own merits, and the phenomenal growth
of its liabilities and resources is entirely due to genuine
In 1849 the business of Trapp, Halfhead & Co.
was taken over, and in 1851 the Berks Union Bank
was absorbed. In 1858 the London & County Bank
purchased the business of the Western Bank of
London, and their office in Hanover Square opened
up a splendid business connection in that direction.
In 1860 Messrs. Robert Davies & Co., an old firm
of private bankers in Shoreditch, was absorbed, and
through this the London & County got their foot
firmly fixed in the east end of London, and we are
sure that most people know that the Shoreditch estab-
lishment is one of the most important branches the
bank has. When the business of Messrs. Nunn & Co.
was purchased in 1870 the Manningtree branch of
the bank was started. From then till now no amal-
gamations or absorptions of any importance have taken
place, and the whole attention of the directors has
been devoted to the consolidation and development of
their business. That they have succeeded in this
laudable programme none can deny since the balance-
Bheets speak for themselves.
It may be of interest to compare the following
figures taken from the balance-sheets : —
Current and Deposit Aooounts and Aoceptanoes.
Surely the London & County have reason to be
proud of their record I Like the London & West-
minster the career of this bank has been one of
continuous prosperity; the directors have endeavoured
to meet the ** people " and the *' people " have
appreciated and reciprocated the endeavour, with the
consequent result that the bank is to-day, as it has
been for many years, one of the most popular in
There was one very important point which was in
the earliest days of the career of the bank seized
upon and followed up by the then directors, viz., that
banking facilities were not needed by Londoners only,
but that those in the suburbs had equal claims on
the accommodation which a good bank could afford.
Hence it was that the plan was adopted of opening
up branch establishments in all the leading suburbs
and those which showed signs of a later develop-
ment, and in the home counties. The experiment
proved eminently successful, so much so that there
are few towns of any importance in the home
counties, and few districts in the suburbs where
a branch of the London & County Bank is not to
be found. And when one is wandering through
a strange town it is not a matter of much difficulty
to distinguish which is the bank, since the board of
the London & County make a point of having their
buildings built both for utility and effect. There is
nothing gaudy about them : everything looks, and is,
good, solid, substantial. The buildings are an orna-
ment to the district in which they are erected.
With regard to the capital, which in 1837 amounted
to £23,720, this important item has been frequently
increased. By 1849, perhaps by the payments on
shares allotted, it stood at £200,000. In 1867 this
item was represented by £500,000. Four years later
the bank issued 6,000 new shares, and in 1866,
a further issue of 12,500 shares was made. In 1883,
the paid-up capital amounted to ii2,000,000, at which
figure it has since remained. Daring the whole
period of its existence a very careful eye has been
kept on the reserve fund, which was gradually in-
creased, till in 1855 it reached more than £100,000 ;
but by 1864, by steady accretions, this very impor-
tant total stood at £240,675. When, as already stated,
the capital of the bank was incrsased in 1869 to
£1,000,000, the reserve fund was raised to £500,000,
and, when the capital amounted to £2,000,000, the
reserve fund was made up to half that amount.
Whenever new capital was issued at a premium the
reserve fund benefitted by the premium. Not content
with this, for a long time past the directors have
adopted a very wise policy — whenever the profits
permitted they have allocated to the reserve fund
substantial amounts, till to-day it is represented by
no less than £1,850,000.
And here we would remark that in addition to
increasing the reserve fund the directors have con-
sistently written down the value of their investments.
Whether they set the example to or followed the
other banks we are not in a position to say, but
that the plan is aa excellent one is absolutely
Looking at the last published balance-sheet again
for a moment, we have no hesitation in saying that,
taken at current market prices, the securities held as
investments would not only realize the figure at
which they are set down, but leave a surplus which
would form a substantial second reserve fund. The
same may be said with regard to the premises, which
appear on the balance-sheet of the 81st December last
as £784,207. Anyone connected or acquainted with
London who knows the head office of the County —
apart from its adjuncts — is perfectly well aware that
that site alone is worth quite, if not more, than
that amount. Then, too, it must not be forgotten
that above and beyond the Lombard Street premises
the London & County have some 200 other offices
situated in all parts of the southern district of
England. The value of these alone must be enor-
mous, and yet we, the public, are informed by the
printed statement of figures "Bank Premises in
London and Country, with Fixtures, Fittings, &c.,
JB784,207 " 1 Here again the bank holds a splendid
third reserve fund.
Carefully directed, splendidly organised, remarkably
well managed, the London & County has made its
mark on the pages of banking history, and there is
no doubt that for many a long day to come it will
continue to hold the proud position of being one of
the leading banks in the United Kingdom, and one
of those most respected in the civilized world. The
balance-sheet, as below, for the half-year ended
81st December, 1904, will speak for itself: —
Balanob-Shbbt of the London & County Banking Compant,
3l8T December, 1904.
Dr. £ 8. d, £ 8. d.
To Capital subscribed £8,000,000
,, Beserve Fund
,, Due by the Bank on Current
Accounts, on Deposit Ac-
counts, with Interest ac-
crued, Circular Notes, &c.
,, Liabilities on Acceptances,
covered by Cash, or Securi*
ties or Bankers' Guarantees
,, Rebate on Bills not due,
carried to next Account...
,, Net Profit for the half-year,
after making provision for
Bad and Doubtful Debts
,, Transferred to Premises'
,, Carried to Reserve Fund ...
,, Profit and Loss Balance
brought from last Account
— 266,391 1
Cr. £ 8. d. £ s. d.
By Cash at the Head Offtce and
Branches, and with Bank
of England 8,009,826 9 9
,, Loans at Call and at Notice,
covered by Securities ... 3,212,419 16 5
,, Investments, viz. : —
,, Consols registered and in
Certificates, New 2^ per
Cents., and National War
Loan (£6,894,491 Ts. lid.,
of which £365,150 Os. Od.
Consols is lodged for Public
Accounts) ; Canada 4 per
Cent. Bonds, and Egyptian
3 per Cent. Bonds, Guaran-
teed by the British Govern-
ment 6,665,136 18 9
,, India Government Stock and
India Government Guaran-
teed Kailway Stocks and
Debentures 1,023,238 18 8
,, Metropolitan and other Cor-
poration Stocks, Debenture
Bonds, English Eailway
Debenture Stock and Colo-
nial Bonds 1,694,882 8 5
„ Other Securities 13,194 13 5
„ Discounted Bills Current ... 8,835,329 2 11
J, Advances to Customers at
the Head Office and Branches 17,800,073 19 3
: 26,635,403 2
,, Liabilities of Customers for
Drafts accepted by the Bank
(as per Contra) 1,766,740 5
,, Bank Premises in London
and Country, with Fixtures
and Fittings 784,207 15
£49,805,050 8 5
The London & South- Western Bank.
This bank is one whose history is of peculiar interest
since its progress has been due solely and entirely to
a steady increase of business, and the growth of its
figures has been due absolutely to public appreciation,
and by no means to amalgamations or absorptions.
It is, as the name implies, a bank catering for London
and the south-west. Like the London & County, the
National Provincial, and the London & Provincial, the
South-Western has watched the needs of the suburbs
of the metropolis and done all that lay in its power
to supply them. Its efforts have been thoroughly
appreciated, the fine buildings erected are ornaments
to the various districts, the officers employed are
always courteous and obliging, the reports issued half-
yearly are uniformly satisfactory, the audited balance-
sheets shew a continuous progress, its reputation is
increasing year by year, the directors and managers
are ever on the alert for new opportunities of extend-
ing their business, shareholders and customers alike
are more than satisfied with the manner in which the
busmess of the bank is conducted, not only at the
head ofl&ce, but also at every one of the branches —
no matter how small they may be ; so it is fair to
assume that the bank has before it a long career of
honourable progress and success.
Such in a few words is a synopsis of the history
of the London & South-Western Bank. No insti-
tution in the country has more carefully disseminated
its influence than has the South-Western.
The institution was established in 1862, and at that
date there was no bank on the one side of the Thames
from the '* Elephant and Castle" to Croydon, and on
the other from New Road (now Euston Road) to
Watford and St. Albans. The South-Western can un-
questionably claim to be the pioneers of suburban
banking, and the fact that so many of the large banks
have since followed the example thus set shows that
the principle was a sound one, worthy of imitation.
Take all the suburbs of London, even the compara-
tively new ones, and if there be any banking accom-
modation you are pretty well sure to see the London &
South-Western on the scene. The management have
all along exercised a great amount of foresight : they
have not waited till a new district was fully deve-
loped, but they have gauged the probabilities and
opened a branch, so that as the district grew the bank
could grow with it. Possibly, in the first instance
there might not be anything like sufficient business to
"keep" the branch, but the directors would be assured
that the profits in the near future would more than
recompense them for the original outlay, and we feel
confident that in every instance their expectations have
been amply realised. At the end of the year 1903
the bank had no less than 119 branches in London
and the suburbs, and 25 in the country, in addition
to which there were also five sub-branches.
As already stated the bank was founded in 1862,
but business was not started till 1st July of the follow-
ing year, the head office being established in Regent
Street. Shortly afterwards branches were opened in
Camden Town and Bristol. In 1865 the head office
was removed to 29 Lombard Street, and in 1871 to
7 Fenchurch Street. In 1888 a site was procured
on the opposite side of the street, and the present
magnificent building was erected, with the main
entrance in Fenchurch Street, but a second, minor
entrance in GracecHurch Street. The present head
office is splendidly fitted up, and commensurate, as it
should be, with the importance of the business of the
bank. While speaking of the head office we would
repeat our previous statement that the bank now
possesses considerably more than 160 branches — some
freehold, some leasehold — and in the balance-sheet for
31st December last we find the item, *• Bank free-
hold and leasehold premises, furniture and fittings,
^6524,637 14s. 4d." There can be no question that
the large number of splendid buildings owned by the
South- Western, occupying, as most of them do, most,
prominent positions, are worth, in the aggregate, much
more than the amount which appears in the published
statement. And when one adds the important position
occupied by the head office, and the great intrinsic
value of the site, one is driven to the conclusion
that apart entirely from the amount specified as
standing to the credit of the reserve fund, there is
held a very large and very substantial second reserve
in the difference between the published and hammer
price of the buildings and furniture.
The paid-up capital of the bank when the first
balance-sheet was published was £58,125, but this was
from time to time increased by the issue of new
shares, until in 1877 it stood at £200,000, divided
into 10,000 shares of £100 each, with £20 paid. The
heavy remaining liabiHty seemed to debar many would-
be investors from taking up an interest in the com-
pany. So an extraordinary meeting of the share-
holders was called and the matter placed clearly be-
fore them — this was in May, 1883— when it was
unanimously resolved to divide each share of £100
with £20 paid into two shares of £50, with £10
paid, it being understood that calls up to £10 per
share would be made, as the business of the bank
required increased capital. Thns the uncalled capital
was reduced from four to two and a half times the
amount paid up on each share. Four calls, each of
£2 10s., were made in 1883, 1884, 1888, 1889, in-
creasing the paid-up capital to £400,000. Next year
it was decided to increase the subscribed capital, and
10,000 new £50 shares (£20 paid) were issued at a
premium of £12 10s. per share. This brought the
total paid-up capital to £600,000, and the premiums
thus received added a handsome amount to the reserve
fund. Since that date, as the exigencies of business
demanded, fresh capital has been issued at varying
premiums, and the latter have invariably been added
to the reserve fund, until now the authorised capital
of the bank is £8,000,000, the subscribed ^62,500,000,
and the paid-up £975,000.
In the previous paragraph we have alluded to the
reserve fund. The bank was opened in July, 1863,
and the following year by the issue of new and un-
allotted shares, a profit of £14,500 was made, and
this was immediately assigned by the board as the
nucleus of a reserve fund. The plan was an excel-
lent one, and the fund, once started, rapidly grew,
year by year, substantial sums being allocated to it
from the current profits. In 1890, 10,000 new shares
were issued at a premium of £12 10s. per share:
these were allotted to the then shareholders, the
market price of the shares being at that time 89-
40. And so on. Each time the bank subsequently
issued new capital the reserve fund benefitted by
the transaction, as with its increasing reputation the
bank could command a higher price in the market.
Again, we would repeat that the issue of new shares
has been purely and solely for the purposes of an
ever enlarging business, a constantly increasing demand
for new branches— but in no instance for the purpose
of buying up some other banking institution. With
this regular augmentation of the reserve fund, that
important item now reaches the very substantial total
of £950,000. While writing on this subject, we would
call attention to another very important factor in
the consideration and the stability of the bank. We
allude to the "Investments." These are all of a very
high character and appear on the balance-sheet at
£3,872,344 15s. 4d. From time to time sums — fre-
quently large sums of money, have been set aside
from the profits of the bank to write down the figure
at which these investments stood in the books, just
in the same way as every half-year the directors have
set and do set aside certain sums to decrease the book
value of the '* bank premises." A year ago, as every-
one knows, consols, the premier security, fell heavily,
and most of the banks in the country decided to write
their holding down to somewhat nearer the market
price. For some time past the consols held by the
London & South- Western Bank had been recorded
at a very safe figure, but realizing the importance of
the situation, the directors made in their report for
81st December, 1903, the following announcement: —
"from this amount the directors have applied
£44,782 lis. 6d. in writing down reserve fund consols
to £85 per cent. . . ."
With other stocks also written down it is easy to
see that here again the bank has another substantial
reserve fund, the strength of which can only be dis-
covered by calculation, and by information as to the
figure at which the investments other than consols
appear on the published statement.
We have not a copy of the first published balance-
sheet before us, but we learn that in it the total of the
current and deposit accounts appeared as £152,618 — but
these figures represented only the work of six months.
Five years later the bank's liability to the public
exceeded half-a-million pounds sterling. " Progress "
was the word of the day, and so, in 1875 we find
that the bank held in current and deposit accounts
more than a million pounds. Seven years later the
total of this most important item stood at £2,143,000.
By 1886 the initial figure had been changed from
2 to 8, and in 1889 the directors with pardonable
pride could note a further alteration — the 3 being
changed to 4, and the deposits standing at £4,100,194.
From that time the balance-sheets have invariably
shown a steady and material increase, until to-day
the liability of the bank on current and deposit
accounts alone is represented by the large sum of
nearly £14,000,000— and the star of the bank is still
in the ascendant, and, under the same skilful direction
and management which has characterised its upward
flight in the past, will continue so for many a
generation to come — provided only it can steer clear
of the amalgamating terrors so current just now.
With such a heavy liability to the public the thought-
ful person at once asks ** in what position does the
bank stand to discharge it in cases of need ?" A
glance at the balance-sheet which we reproduce below
will show: —
Current and Deposit accounts ... Jei3,623,000
Cash in hand and at Bank ... ^61,778,000
Ditto at Call 971,000
Ditto Investments 8,872,000
That is to say, the cash in hand and at the Bank
of England was equivalent to 13*05 per cent, of the
liability, the money at call to 7*1, and the invest-
ments to 28*4: — together 48*5 per cent. — money
immediately procurable and available.
In 1881 the bank established an officers* guarantee
and provident fund, the directors undertaking to pro-
vide sufficient funds to pay compound interest at 5
per cent, on the balance of the amounts paid in by
the members of the staff, who contributed at the rate
of 5 per cent, on their salaries. In this particular
various alterations have been made, and the staff now
enjoy a provident, a pension, a guarantee and a sav-
ings' bank fund, all of which are flourishing in
a remarkable degree.
Before giving the copy of the last balance-sheet, it
may be of interest to state that the premises, No. 7
Fenchurch Street, at one time the head office of the
bank, were previously occupied by Messrs. Hankey & Co.,
and the following story, although not new, will bear
repetition in this connection : " Late one evening in
1720, a carriage drove up to the door of Messrs.
Hankey & Co.'s banking-house in Fenchurch Street.
A demand to see a partner was responded to, and
when the visitor had satisfied himself that he was in
the presence of one of the firm, he handed him
a packet carefully sealed, with a request that it
might be placed aside till he called for it. The
request was singular, but it was granted. A few
days passed — a few weeks — a few months — but the
stranger did not make his appearance : and after
the third year had elapsed, the partners agreed to
open the mysterious parcel in each other's presence.
To their surprise it contained £30,000 in bank notes.
with a letter, which stated that the money was
obtained in the South Sea Bubble. Directions were
added as to its investment, and the interest, the letter
said, was to be devoted to the relief of the poor."
Statembkt of Accounts op the London & South- Western Bank,
Balance-Shbbt — 3l8T Decembeb, 1904.
Br. £ s. d. £ s. d.
Current and Deposit Accounts 13,165,741 17 10
Other Liabilities and Credit
Accounts, including Out-
standing Advices, Letters of
Credit, and Circular Notes...
457,885 12 4
Capital Subscribed :—
50,000 Shares at JB50..
Paid-up :— 40,000 Shares £20 per Share,
and 10,000 New Shares £17 lOs. per
Share, making a total of
(Invested Id Consols
as per Contra)
Rebate on Bnis not due
Profit and Loss : —
Balance brought from last
£ s. d.
30,102 13 2
Net profit for the half-year
ended 31st December, 1903,
after adding £2,500 to StafE
Retirement and Benevolent
Fund 88,451 11 9
118,554 4 11
Writing down Reserve Fund
Local Loans Stock to £
percent 3,159 17 11
£15.670,389 5 6
Cr. £ 8. d. £ 8. d.
Cash in hand and at Bank of
England 1,778,508 9 6
Money at Call, and Short
— 2,749,973 9 6
Investments : —
Consols and Securities of, or
guaranteed by, the British
Grovemment (of which
£343,500 is lodged for
Public Accounts) 1,170,584 18 11
Reserve Eund : —
Consols (2 J per cent.)
£882,352 18s. lOd. @ £85 750,000
Local Loans (3 per cent.)
£210,526 6s. 4d. © £95 ... 200,000
2,120,584 16 11
Indian Railway Guaran-
teed, Metropolitan and
English Corporation, Bank
of England and British
Colonial Government Stocks 1,443,971 5
British Railway Stocks and
other Securities 307,788 18
3,872,344 15 4
Bills discounted : —
(a) Three Months and under 815,412 12 7
(6) Exceeding Three Months 106,166 5 5
Loans and Advances 7,317,261 8 8
Liability of Customers for Ac-
ceptances, as per Contra ... 305 14 3
Bank Freehold and Leasehold
Premises, Furniture and
Fittings 524,637 14 4
Other Assets, including Out-
standing Advices, Freehold
and Leasehold Properties,
and Stamps 284,287 5 5
£15,670,389 5 6
The London & Westminster Bank.
This was the first joint-stock bank started in London,
and though its position is one that could well be
envied by any institution in the United Kingdom,
there has been nothing particularly exciting in the
whole of its long history. It was founded on the
10th March, 1834, with a paid-up capital of £60,000.
By the original prospectus the capital was fixed at ten
million pounds, divided into 100,000 shares of £100
each, " in order that the mercantile and trading
community, and the public in general, may, by this
extensive distribution of shares, acquire an interest
in the prosperity of the establishment and partici-
pate in its advantages." It appears that, in spite of
this inducement, the shares went off slowly. The
venture was on quite new lines, and the result —
failure or success — was entirely problematical. When
the business was started under the management of
Mr. James Wm. Gilbart, at 88 Throgmorton Street,
there were but 10,000 shares taken up. This, how-
ever, did not discourage the founders; they had
started a business which they intended should "pay,"
and they were determined to make it do so. They
had not long to wait. The same year (1834) a bill
was brought into Parliament to authorise the Lon-
don & Westminster Bank to sue, and be- sued, in
the names of their public officers, in the same way
as those banks whose offices were more than sixty-
five miles from London. Though this bill passed
through the Commons it was rejected by the Lords,
and consequently the bank adopted the plan of suing
or being sued by trustees.
But although the bank had surmounted one diffi-
culty others presented themselves, as is always the
case with pioneers. The institution had a very up-hill
battle to fight against the prejudices of the old estab-
lished private bankers, who till then had enjoyed
a monopoly of the banking business of the metropolis,
but, worst of all, there was the envenomed jealousy
of the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, It was not
long before she showed her teeth. Being probably
ill at ease with a new rival, who promised to be
a very formidable one, she, in the early part of
1885, commenced proceedings to prevent the Lon-
don & Westminster from accepting bills drawn at less
than six months after date. Two years later the
Master of the Rolls granted the necessary injunction,
but the efifect of this judicial mandate was speedily
neutralized, and the Bank of England thwarted, by
the action of the country bankers, who immediately
commenced drawing on the London & Westminster
On the same day that the bank commenced opera-
tions in the city a branch was opened in Waterloo
Place, Pall Mall, as the Westminster branch, and
this was removed subsequently to St. James's Square.
In January, 1836, branches were opened at 213 Hol-
born and 87 Whitechapel, and in February, at Wel-
lington Street, Southwark. In June of the same year
the directors decided to open a branch establishment
in Oxford Street, to subsequently remove it to Strat-
ford Place as their Marylebone branch. Thus it will
be seen that the idea of the board was to cater for
London generally, and it was speedily recognised by
the then leading bankers that they must look carefully
to their laurels; the old jog-trot days had passed
away, and a new era had commenced. Very quickly
the bank became remarkably popular, and then atten-
tion was directed to other districts where accommo-
dation was inadequate, or entirely absent. But it
was not until 1855 that any decided move was
made. In that year the well-known firm of Strachan,
Paul & Bates failed, and this opportunity was seized
by the London & Westminster to open their Temple
Bar branch. It was in 1863 that the London & Mid-
dlesex bank stopped payment, and the directors, always
on the alert for strengthening their business, founded
the Lambeth branch. When Jones, Loyd & Co., an
old established firm of private bankers, and neigh-
bours of the London & Westminster, suspended pay-
ment in 1863, the latter bought their business and
their premises. In 1881, a branch was opened in
Brompton Square, South Kensington; in 1884, in
Victoria Street, Westminster; in 1886, in Westbourne
Grove, Bayswater, and one at Islington ; in 1887,
the Holborn Circus branch was started, and the
Tottenham Court Road branch was opened. In 1890
the bank was represented at Hampstead and Oxford
Street, while in the following year business was com-
menced in High Street, Kensington.
Since then when favourable opportunities arose the
board have carefully and wisely opened branch estab-
lishments in all parts of the metropolis and the suburbs,
and is now represented in the following districts : —
Marylebone (Stratford Place)
St. Mary Axe.
Tottenham Court Road.
Victoria Street, S.W.
Wood Street, E.C.
With an establishment that has had a continued
career of progress for a large number of years it is
always of interest to look back on the history of its
early days. In the first report issued, in 1884, by
the London & Westminster the following paragraphs
occur : —
"The opposition of the private hankers was mani-
fested at an early period by their refusal to permit
any clerk to attend at the Clearing House on behalf
of this bank. The Clearing House has been in exis-
tence for upwards of sixty years, and although founded
m the first instance for the accommodation of such
London bankers as chose to avail themselves of it,
yet it has become entwined with the mode of settling
accounts in several branches of business, and is, for
all practical purposes, a public institution. The
opposition of the Bank of England began by their
refusal to grant to this company the common con-
venience of a drawing account, a convenience granted
as a matter of course to every respectable firm who
may choose to apply for it.
* * * -x- * * *
**The directors congratulate the proprietors that,
notwithstanding all this opposition, they have not
only been able to stem the torrent which, it must
be evident, arose from private and not public con-
siderations, but they have seen from the progressive
advancement of business, that [ they occupy a more
favourable position in public opinion ; and whether
the ordinary power to sue and be sued be granted
or not, whether the courtesies and facilities usual
amongst all competitors be reciprocated or not, they
entertain no doubt of the prosperity of this establish-
ment, founded, as it is, upon liberal and broad
principles, and upon a broad basis of security."
Thus the directors in 1834. How amply their
anticipations have been realised the continued pros-
perity of the bank amply proves. We are quite sure
that could the founders of the institution glance at
the last balance-sheet they would be absolutely
astounded at the figures there given. Little did
Mr. J. W. Gilbart dream that he was laying the
foundation of so mighty a financial system when he
first advocated the opening of a joint-stock bank in
London. He had grasped a great principle which has
enormously developed, viz., that the aggregate of
a number of small balances may be equivalent to
a few large ones. The joint-stock system of banking
enables the poor as well as the rich man to " keep
his banker," and it is only necessary to look at the
amounts of the cheques which daily pass through the
House to thoroughly realise this.
VNIYERSn : j
And now let us look at the first balance-sheet of
the London & Westminster.
A Statement of the Affairs of the Bank,
31st December, 1834.
Dr. £ 8. d.
Due to the public in Lodgments, and Interest
on Deposit Accounts 180,380 9 10
Due to proprietors for Paid-up Capital ... 182,255
Balance in favour of Bank 3,540 6 6
£366,175 16 4
Cr. £ s. d.
Due to the Bank on account of Investment
in Government Securities, Bills Discounted,
&c„ and Cash in hand 355,540 3 6
Preliminary Expenses 10,635 12 10
£366,175 16 4
It will be seen that despite the difficulties to be
encountered, the bank did very well during its first
year of existence. The figures shown in the balance-
sheet of to-day — seventy years later — show a striking
contrast, the assets totalling more than thirty-two
million pounds as compared with three hundred and
sixty-six thousand pounds in 1884 ; while the amount
"due to proprietors" for paid-up capital has increased
from £182,255 to £2,800,000, with, in addition, a
reserve fund of £1,400,000.
Similarly the profit and loss accounts are equally
interesting. Thus for 1884 this appeared : —
Dr. £ 8. d.
Total Current Expenditure from 10th March to
3l8t December 4,377 4 2
Interest due to the public on Deposit Eeceipts 521 1 8
Balance in favour of the Bank 3,540 6 6
ig8,438 12 4
Cr. £ s. d.
Balance of Interest Account 8,438 12 4
That for 1904, June to December only, is some-
what different 1
Dr. £ 8. d.
To Total Expenditure of the thirty-six Estab-
ments, including Rent, Taxes, Salaries,
Pension Fund, Life Insurance, Station-
ery, &c 141,122 19 10
,, Payment of the Dividend now declared,
at the rate of 6^ per Cent, for the half-
year on the Paid-up Capital, £2,800,000 182,000
,, Balance of undivided Profit carried to
next Account 18,714 15 11
Cr. £ 8, d.
By Balance of undivided Profit, 31st Decem-
ber, 1902 13,944 18 3
,, Gross Profits of the last half-year, after
appropriating £3,000 towards the Build-
ings of the Bank, paying the Income-tax,
and making provision for all bad and
doubtful Debts 327,892 17 6
£341,837 15 9
One of the principles on which the bank has been
conducted throughout has been to hold in cash and
immediately convertible securities a large proportion
of the amount of the liability to the public, and
this may be one of the reasons, if not the reason,
of its great success. Thus from the last balance-
sheet we see that the current and deposit accounts
stood at £27,155,212, and against this large total the
Cash in hand and at Bank of
Money at Call and Short Notice 6,254,350
Government and other Securities 4,737,000
Together... .. £15,813,612
The paid-up capital, which was £182,255 in 1834,
was £597,255 in 1836, and had reached £800,000 in
1842. In 1849 it stood at £1,000,000, at which
jBgure it remained until 1866, when new shares were
issued, which, by 1869, had brought the paid-up
capital to £2,000,000. Further shares were issued in
1880, and when these were paid the capital stood at
the substantial figure of £2,800,000, at which it has
The reserve fund, which was j61,205 in 1884, was
steadily increased year by year until in 1867 it stood
at £500,000. Next year, by the addition of £600,000
premium on the issue of new shares, it was raised
to £1,000,000, and now, by various additions, it has
been raised to £1,400,000.
It would be difficult to find in London an office
where the staff work more harmoniously together.
The present building in Lothbury, which has fre-
quently been enlarged and altered, is a veritable hive
of industry. The business of the bank was trans-
ferred from 38 Throgmorton Street to these premises
on 26th December, 1888.
The London, City & Midland Bank.
Tms important financial institution, like Lloyds, has
a most interesting history, and has enjoyed a career
of steady and unimpeded progress. It holds one of
the highest positions in the whole of the banking
world, and is well-known and highly thought of in
every portion of the civilized world. Together with
Parr*s and Lloyds it is responsible for the absorption
of a large number of private joint- stock banks.
The bank was established in Birmingham in August,
1886, incorporated in 1873, and registered as the Bir-
mingham & Midland Bank, Limited, in 1880. The first
office was in Union Street, Birmingham, but such was
the success which attended it, and so rapidly did the
business flow in, that it was soon found that the
accommodation there was quite incommensurate with
the requirements. Accordingly the directors acquired
a site in New Street, on which they erected one of
the most palatial banking premises to be found in the
United Kingdom, This building was opened for busi-
ness in 1869, and even to-day, with all the improve-
ments which have been effected in the capital of the
Black Country, it still remains one of the finest and
The Birmingham & Midland Bank started business
in one office only, unlike some others to which we
have already referred which opened a head office and
branch offices at one and the same time. No branch
was opened till 1851, when the business of
Bate & Bobbins, an old firm of private bankers at
Stourbridge, was absorbed. Shortly afterwards, the pri-*
vate firm of Nicholls, Baker & Crane, of Bewdley, was
acquired, this being a house nearly a century old with
a splendid connection. In 1875 a branch was opened
at Wednesbury, and seven years later one at Moseley
Eoad, Birmingham. This was really the commence-
ment of a system which the present bank has ever
since assiduously and persistently followed — the opening
of branches in all directions in every part of the
country. This institution, perhaps more than any
other, has recognised the vast importance of catering
for the public convenience, that the small man has aa
much right to expect banking facilities as the big
merchant or financier. Consequently, it has opened
up branches in almost every part of England and
Wales, not even overlooking the Channel Islands.
Given the necessity for a branch bank, or the prob-
ability of one opened in any district paying and the
authorities of the London City & Midland Bank
immediately make the necessary arrangements.
The first general manager was Mr. Charles Geach,
at one time M.P. for Coventry. He having been
offered a seat on the board, retired in 1847 in favour
of Mr. Henry Edmunds, who also was made a director.
His successor was Mr. Goode, who retired on a pension
after forty-two years' service. Next came Mr. G. F.
Bolding, who in 1887 retired, and was succeeded by
Mr. J. A. Christie, who in 1871 had entered the bank
as secretary. Mr. E. H. Holden, one of the best-
known gentleman in the banking world, entered the
service of the Birmingham & Midland in 1881, and
six years later was appointed assistant manager. In
1891 he was appointed joint general manager with Mr,
Christie. It was under the regime of these two gentle-
men that the bank forged its way ahead so rapidly.
Its progress was phenomenal. From a comparatively
small institution it has grown to be the third largest
bank in the country. Mr. Holden was, and is, inde-
fatigable and untiring in his efforts. All his interests
and engeries are centred round the institution, which
he must almost regard as a foster child.
Some idea of the enormous growth of this bank can
be gathered from a glance at the following figures: —
Capital paid-up... £260,000 £3,000,000.
The first published balance-sheet was for the year
1879. Let us look at two or three of the main items
there recorded, and compare them with those for 1904.
Capital paid-up ... £800,000 £3,000,000
Reserve Fund ... 210,000 8,000,000
Deposits 2,750,000 47,672,000
That is to say, in some twenty-five years alone the
liability of the bank to the public has increased by
nearly seventeen hundred per cent. But it must be
remembered that as the liability to the public has
increased so have the means to meet that liability.
There are few, if any of the clearing banks that
can show a higher proportion of assets to deposits.
This will be seen by the balance-sheet we give below.
Of course everyone knows that the major 'portion of
this tremendous fiugmentation is due in the main to
amalgamations and absorptions, and in this depart-
ment of banking work the Midland, under the general-
ship of Mr. Holden, has been exceptionally fortunate.
Every eligible bank, in any way obtainable, has been
swallowed up. In 1883 the Union Bank of Birming-
ham, Limited, was taken over, and soon afterwards the
Coventry Union Bank, the Leamington, Priors & War-
wickshire Banking Company, and the Derby Com-
mercial Bank, thus strengthening the position of the
bank in the Midlands. Then an important move was
made, by the absorption in 1890 of the Leeds & County
Bank, and the Exchange & Discount Bank of Leeds.
This established the Midland firmly in Yorkshire, as
both these institutions were doing a large business
and each had several branches.
All this time, however, Mr. Holden had been keeping
his eagle eye on the metropolis — the Midland must not
rest till it had a London office, a London connection,
and a seat in the London Bankers' Clearing House.
Each of these ends were attained the following year
when it was announced that terms of amalgamation
had been arranged with the Central Bank of London,
Limited. This sound little institution was established
in 1863, and at the time of the absorption had ten
branches, all radiating from the head office in Corn-
hill. But what was far more important it had the
great privilege of a seat in *< the House." The head
office was then transferred from New Street, Birming-
ham, to Gornhill, London, the title of the bank was
altered to the London & Midland Bank, Limited, and
Mr. E. H. Holden was made joint general manager
with Mr. J. A. Christie. Unquestionably this was the
most important step the bank had taken up to that
time. It was, however, only the prelude of what was
to follow. The next ten years saw the Midland spread-
ing like an octopus all over the kingdom. Within
about a month after the absorption of the Central it
was officially announced the business of the very old
private bank of Messrs. Lacy, Hartland & Co., of
Bermondsey and West Smithfield, had been purchased.
Thus two more were added to the number of its
Then attention was given to the County Palatine,
where the bank was not represented at all. The
following year the opportunity presented itself, and the
Manchester Joint- Stock Bank, Limited, with twelve
branches in and around the city, was acquired.
In 1898 the Bank of Westmoreland, with branches
at Kendal, Ambleside, Kirkby- Stephen, Sedbergh and
Bowness was secured. From 1895 to 1897 the follow-
ing banks were taken over : the Preston Banking
Company, Limited, the Carlisle City & District Bank,
Limited, the Channel Islands Bank, Limited, Hudders-
field Banking Company, Limited, North-Western Bank,
Limited, Oldham Joint- Stock Bank, Limited.
During this period numerous branches and sub-
branches were opened, especially in the north and
south of England, and in "Wales — the bank having for
many years been very strong in the principality.
In 1898 another grand coup was made, the financial
world being startled at reading one morning an an-
nouncement that terms of amalgamation had been
arranged with the City Bank, Limited, an institution
which had a large and important city and foreign
connection, and numerous branch offices in London.
Then it was that the title of the bank was altered
to the London, City & Midland Bank, Limited.
Then, too, Mr. E. H. Holden was appointed managing
director, and Mr. J. M. Madders, Mr. S. B. Murray
and Mr. D. G. H. Pollock joint general managers.
The head office was transferred at the same time from
Cornhill to Threadneedle Street.
Since then the Sheffield Banking Company, Limited,
has been taken over.
With the constant increase of business, and with the
many purchases, amalgamations, and absorptions the
capital of the bank has been repeatedly increased, but
it has been the invariable rule of the directors that
on each fresh issue of capital there should be a pro-
portionate increase of the reserve fund until, as we
have already mentioned, they now each stand at
The following is the report and statement of accounts
submitted at the annual meeting, held in London in
February last : —
•' The directors have to report that the net profits
for the half-year ending 31st December, 1904, after
payment of all expenses and making provision for all
bad and doubtful debts, amount to £291,896 2s. 7d.,
to which has been added the balance of £107,821 14s. 2d.
brought forward from last account, making together a
total sum of £399,717 16s. 9d., which the directors
recommend shall be appropriated as follows j —
"Dividends at the rate of 18 per
cent, per annum for the half-year
ending 81st December, 1904, free
of Income Tax, payable 1st Feb-
*' Bank Premises Eedemption Fund.,.
" Balance to be carried forward to
"It is with deep regret the Directors have to
record the death of their esteemed colleague Sir
"A Branch of the Bank will shortly be opened at
Balancb'Shebt, 3l8T December, 1904.
To Capital Paid up, viz.: £12 10s. per Share on
240,000 Shares of £60 each 3,000,000
,, Reserve Fund .. ., 3,000,000
„^Dividends payable on 1st February, 1905 .. 270,000
,, Balance of Profit and Loss Account, as below 109,717 16 9
6,379,717 16 9
,, Current, Deposit and other Accounts 47,672,355 12 9
,, Acceptance on account of Customers 2,153,29010 6
By Cash in hand and at Bank of
England £9,140,499 16 10
„ Money at Call and at Short
Notice 7,099,988 16 5
16,240,488 13 3
Consols and other British
Government Securities ..£3,556,007 7 10
(of which £372,000 Consols
is lodged for Public Accounts)
Stocks Guaranteed by the
British Government, Indian
Stocks, Indian Railway
Guaranteed Stocks and De-
bentures 1,006,7§1 15
British Railway Debenture
and Preference Stocks,
British Corporation Stocks 1,977,591 6 7
Colonial and Foreign Govern-
ment Stocks and Bonds ... 465,812 12 1
Sundry Investments ... 450,135 2 2
7,455,328 3 8
„ Bills of Exchange 4,324,889 14 3
,, Advances on Current Accounts, Loans on
Security and other Accounts
,, Liabilities of Customers for Acceptance, as
y, Bank Premises, at Head Of&ce and Branches
By the above figures it can be seen that at the
close of 1904 the London, City & Midland Bank held
no less than 49*6 of their liability to the public in
liquid assets, thus : cash in hand, 19' 1 ; cash at
call and notice, 14*9; investments, 15*6.
The City Bank.
A word or two about the City Bank. The charter
of its incorporation was dated 20th July, 1855, and the
bank commenced business in August of the same year.
The paid-up capital was originally £150,000. This was
increased from time to time, until at the date of the
amalgamation it stood at £1,000,000. By the end of
1865 a reserve fund of £140,000 had been built up,
but at the half-yearly meeting in July of the following
year the chairman had the unpleasant task of inform-
ing the shareholders that bad debts were depending
not in a state to be then definitely adjusted, but that
£19,961 16s. 2d. had been written off the profits to
meet them. The report for the December half of that
year contained the following significant sentences : —
"Under the protracted depreciation of mercantile
securities these debts have proved more serious than
was at that time anticipated, and in order to entirely
extinguish the loss the directors very much regret that
it has been found necessary to trench materially on
the reserve fund — a fund the primary object of which,
under the deed of settlement, is to meet exigencies
Buch as the present. The directors, however, feel con-
fident, from the improved character and steady ex-
tension of this business, the surplus profits of the bank
will enable them shortly to restore the reserve fund
to its former amount."
On that occasion the reserve was depleted to the
extent of ^682, 060 12s. 4d. The directors confidence
was, however, well founded, since, by 1871, constant
increments had once again brought this item up to
;£100,000 ; but the next year, " in consequence of
recent failures," £85,000 had to be withdrawn to meet
losses on bills. It must have been very gratifying to
the board to report, at the close of 1875, that
''£11,445 6s. had been recovered to that date from
accounts previously provided for." This enabled them
to vote £15,000 to be re-transferred to the reserve,
and showed the wisdom of the policy under which
the bank was directed. From that year until 1888,
the reserve fund was steadily augumented, sometimes
out of profits, sometimes by the issue of new shares,
and the report for December, 1888, stated that
"£20,000 from profits and £100,000 premium on
20,000 new shares issued," being transferred to reserve,
brought it up to £500,000, at which figure it stood
at the time of the amalgamation in 1898.
The London Joint- Stock Bank, Limited.
This bank was one of the first to follow the example
set by the London & Westminster, the pioneers of
all joint- stock banking in the metropolis. The original
announcement of its existence contained the follow-
ing statement as to the reason for its establishment,
*' for the purpose of enabling the inhabitants of the
metropolitan districts to participate more extensively
than they can at present in the advantages ajfforded
by the new system of banking, by means of joint-
stock establishments (the principles of which are
proved to be in every respect as applicable to the
metropolis as they are to provincial towns, where
private banking establishments are rapidly grow-
ing into joint- stock banks) it has been resolved after
deliberate consideration to form a joint-stock banking
company, to be called * The London Joint- Stock Bank,'
with a capital of ^63,000,000 divided into 60,000 shares
of £50 each." Such was the original statement placed
before the public, and it was well subscribed for, the
public having begun to appreciate the benefit of
Mr. J. S. Gilbart's creation, the London & West-
minster Bank. Temporary offices were taken at
29 Coleman Street, and the business commenced,
some customers opening current, others deposit accounts.
The company held out the inducement that £2 per
cent, would be paid on current and £2J per cent,
on deposit accounts.
It will doubtless be of interest to glance at the
first statement published by the Joint- Stock after its
first year of work, and compare it with the last
published one : —
Liabilities and Assets, 20th ^Noybmbbr, 1837.
Dr. £ 8. d
To Capital Paid-up, being £7 per share upon
31,080 shares 217,560
„ Amount due by the Bank, including money
taken upon Security and their Acceptances at
not less than six months' date 594,101 17
,, Balance carried to Credit of Profit and Loss
Account 19,553 3 8
Cr. £ 8. d
By Exchequer Billi 206,300 12 6
„ India Bonds 10,202 15
,, Bills Discounted, Loans to Customers, and
Cash in Bank 590,521 19 9
,, Banking and Preliminary Expenses, a pro-
portion of which will be annually written o£E 24,189 13 9
Such were the figures in 1837. Sixty-seven years
afterwards, namely at the close of 1894, they were
as follows : —
31 8T December, 1904.
Liabilities. £ 8. d.
To Capital Paid up, viz., 120,000 Shares at
£15 per Share 1,800,000
„ Amount of the Guarantee Fund 1,140,000
,, Amount due by the Bank on Current Ac-
counts, Deposit Receipts, Circular Notes, &c. 16,351,268 12
,, Acceptances 1,199,155 2 3
,, Rebate of Interest on Bills Discounted,
not yet due, carried to New Account... 19,255 12 6
, , Amount of Net Profit for the half-year ended
3l8t December, including £22,746 9s. 2d.
balance of Profit and Loss Account,
30th June, 1904 £124,012 2 10
Less transferred to Super-
By Government Stock, viz., £1,500,000 Consols
taken at 85
,, Other British Government Securities
,, Indian, Colonial Government, and other
,, To Securities lodged with Public Bodies
,, Cash in Hand and at the Bank of England
,, Money at Call and at Short Notice
,, Bills Discounted, Loans and other Securities
,, Liabilities of Customers for Acceptances as
,, Freehold and Leasehold Premises
So far as the capital is concerned, a second issue
was made in 1840, by which the amount paid up
was increased to ^6445, 1 20. The following year
14,466 further shares were issued, and in 1865, by
a further issue the paid-up capital was raised to
del, 080,000. By 1868 it had been increased to
del, 200,000, and in 1884 it was further augmented
by £600,000, thus bringing that important item to
its present amount — £1,800,000.
Similarly the reserve, or guarantee fund, which was
founded in 1837 by the appropriation of the surplus
profits— £2,932. Until the year 1842 it was steadily
added to from the current profits, and then stood at
£93,214. The next year to equalise the dividend it
was slightly decreased. The dimunition was only
temporary, for the next half-year and onwards, till
1860, amounts were regularly allocated to the guaran-
tee fund, which at the end of 1859 reached the
substantial sum of rather more than £200,000. In
1860, although the usual dividend was paid, a sum
of no less than £60,000 had to be taken from the
profits and set aside "to cover the losses incurred
by the failure of Messrs. Streatfield & Co., and other
houses connected with 'the leather trade." From that
date the only alteration made in this account have
been by regular periodical additions.
The bank had not been established long in Cole-
man Street before it was found that the volume
of business coming in demanded larger premises,
so a site was purchased and a building erected in
Princes Street, Mansion House. The report for June,
1872, stated that the directors had succeeded in pur-
chasing the valuable freehold property known as the
" Poultry Chapel," adjoining the rear of the bank pre-
mises in Princes Street. '' This most desirable acquisi-
tion," continued the report, " will be immediately made
available to meet the constantly increasing require-
ments for carrying on the business of the bank; and
the directors beg to congratulate the proprietors on
that object having been secured at an outlay so com-
paratively moderate, considering the ulterior advantage
that will accrue to the bank from the purchase."
Although on a comparatively small scale, the London
Joint- Stock Bank have taken over other similar insti-
tutions. In 1870 the Alliance Bank, in Southwark,
was absorbed, and the same year the business of the
Albion Bank, in Southwark, was purchased. By far
the most important amalgamation the Joint have ever
effected was in 1893, when an announcement was pub-
blished that the Imperial Bank, of Lothbury, one of
the most important banking institutions in London,
had been procured. The Imperial was a bank with
a very extensive connection, especially amongst mem-
bers of the London Stock Exchange — in fact, so
great was the business done on settling days that the
Imperial and the Alliance were commonly called the
*• brokers' banks." The purchase added some ^63,000,000
to the deposits of the Joint- Stock Bank, and at the
same time afforded it a considerable number of estab-
lished branches in and about London. What, perhaps,
was of almost equal importance, it gave the Joint an
outlet for its surplus funds, in the same manner as the
City Bank, another institution extensively patronised
by stockbrokers, did to the London, City & Midland.
In 1840 the Joint opened a branch in Henrietta
Street, Covent Garden, but this very soon after was
closed, and the business transferred to the premises
previously occupied by Messrs. Hammersley in Pall
Mall. In 186G and 1868 branches were started in
Chancery Lane and Smithfield respectively. The Pad-
dington branch was opened in 1872, and one in
Great Tower Street, E.G., in 1888. Eight years
later the bank went a little further afield, opening
branches in Camberwell and Eotherhithe; and in
1892 in South Kensington. The Eotherhithe branch
was discontinued in 1893. Since this date the
management have given more attention to the impor-
tance of, firstly, the feeding of their own institution
in Princes Street, and, secondly, of offering increased
facilities to the public. Hence many other offices
have been established, and judging from the last
reports, the bank appears to be benefitting by its
The bank was registered as an unlimited company
in 1873, and in 1882 as limited.
There is one point to which we would call atten-
tion, which may be of interest. With most banks
the custom obtains of issuing rather lengthy reports
to their shareholders, and even in the early days the
idea seemed to be that the longer the report could
be spun out the better. It might be as well for
some of our bank officials of to-day to take a leaf
out of the record book of the London Joint-Stock
Bank. The report for the half-year, 30th June, 1851,
ran : —
" The accounts which the directors have in
the course of their duty to submit to the share-
holders, show that the net profits of the bank
during the six months completed on the 80th
ult. amount to £29,841 15s. 7d. [The pay-
ment of the dividend at the rate of £6 per
cent, per annum, clear of income-tax, will
leave the sum of £9,841 15s. 7d. to the credit
of the profit and loss account of the next
half-year. The dividend will be payable on
and after Friday, the 25th inst."
That was all — brief, succinct, business-like: what
more is needed? The short epitome contains all the
information appreciated by the shareholders.
The bank has still plenty of scope for extension
both in the suburbs and the provinces, and we do
not doubt that under the present very competent
direction and management all suitable opportunities
for new branch business will be carefully considered.
Martin & Company, Limited.
There is a great question whether the old firm of
Martin & Co. was established before or after the
well-known houses of Coutts & Co. and Child & Co.
Each has its budget of dates ; each has its treasured
and interesting episodes and anecdotes ; each can afford
to take a supercilious glance at those joint-stock banks
which sprang into existence at a time when these old
private banks were hoary with age. There is the tale
of its origin anent the grasshopper, but unquestionably
that is all a myth— it is a pretty romance, and that
is all. Mr. Granville Leveson-Gower, of Titsey, in
his genealogy of the family of the Greshams remarks
** that the legend has been localized, and that an old
dame in his village inquired of him whether he knew
the origin of the Greshams, and then proceeded to
relate the story, placing the scene of the occurrence
at New Hall, in the adjoining parish of Limpsfield.
The absurdity of this legend is obvious in view of
the fact that the Greshams were a well-known Norfolk
family, taking their name possibly from a parish of
the name Gresham, i.e., Grassham."
It may here be remarked that grasshein is a Ger-
man word for grasshopper.
Sir Richard Gresham was by trade a mercer, but
in 1589, when Anne of Cleves came over to be the
bride of King Henry VIII., a payment is recorded
in the book of the bank as follows : '* To Sir Richard
Gresham for a cheyne of fyne golde which was geven
to a gent that came from the Duke of Baoyer,
£100 18s. 9d." Evidently from this statement Gres-
ham must have then been a goldsmith in business.
Again, taking our notes from the most interesting
book of Mr. J. B. Martin, we find that Gresham
"particularly wished to erect a bourse of exchange
in Lombard Street, and submitted a design of it in
1537 to Cromwell (then the Lord Privy Seal), but
delay followed delay, and there was a lapse of some
thirty years before his son. Sir Thomas Gresham,
carried the idea out to its completion."
Sir Thomas Gresham, who was born in 1619,
was, according to Mr. Martin, apart from being a
mercer " before all else a financier," and it is prob-
able that he was looked on in some degree askance
by his brothers of the mercer's craft, since he is
recorded on two occasions, 1559 and 1560, to have
advised the "raising of the wind" to pay his Majesty's
debts by laying an embargo on the fleets about to
sail to and from Antwerp respectively, until the
skippers had agreed to pay to the Queen's credi-
tors in Antwerp considerable sums at the rate of
exchange most favourable to the Crown that could
be extorted from the men, on whom the mine was
not to be sprung until the goods were safely on
board. On the first of these ocassions he writes to
Cecil recommending him to send for the Lord Mayor
(Sir Thomas Leigh, 1558-9) and eleven other princi-
pal merchants of the city, among whom were ♦* Mr.
Aldyman Martynne and Lyonell Dockett" — the latter
ft reputed partner of Gresham's — " and to move unto
them to the intent that they might flourish in the
commonwealth, as aforetime they had done, that the
Queen being not unmindful of the payment of her
debts in Antwerp, had thought good to use them
(as heretofore. King Edward, her brother, dyd)."
"And for the accomplishment of the premises, the
Queen's Majestic dowthe requyre at your handes to
paye in Flanders xxs. sterling upon every cloth that
is now shipped, after the rate xxvs. flemysh for the
pound sterling. . . . Finally, ye maye not come
lower than to hav for every pound sterling xxiis.
flemysh (for 20, for so the exchange passeth at this
present). But I trust y* will be at 22s. 6d. ere
they hav fynyshed their shipping. Advertising you
yf the exchange be better in Lombard Street than
22s. in any wise to make them pay after that
The name of Martin first appeared among the
goldsmiths as early as the commencement of the
reign of Queen Elizabeth. In the year 1558 Eichard
Martyn, or Martin, was called to the Livery of the
Goldsmiths' Company. At that time he resided at
'* The Harpe," in Goldsmiths' Row, Cheapside. There
is no direct evidence that he enjoyed any controlling
influence over '* The Grasshopper," but as he used
the same armorial bearings as the bank have done
ever since, it seems highly probable that he was
In the list of "Goldsmiths kepeing running cashes"
for the year 1677 there is the firm of Messrs. Dun-
combe & Richard Kent, of '* The Grasshopper," of
In 1646 the name of Stone first appears, when
William Stone *' was presented " for selling beer with-
out a license.
It is very probable that the bank was burnt down
in the great fire of 1666,
Mr. J. B. Martin, in his little work on " The
Grasshopper," says **it is a tradition that James II.
kept an account there (at "The Grasshopper") as
well as at Childs', and that when, after his abdica-
tion and flight, 1688, he sent to his bankers for his
balance, the latter, as good bankers, sent it to him,
while the former, as good Whigs, told him to come
and fetch it. There is room for another conjecture,
namely, that his Majesty's account was overdrawn."
Duncombe became Lord Mayor of London in 1709,
prior to which date he had entered into partnership
with Mr. Kichard Smythe, a banker, who subsequently
introduced into the firm one Andrew Stone who mar-
ried, later, Mr. Smythe's sister. Whether this con-
summation was a part of the agreement for partner-
ship or not, we cannot say. In his will, dated
11th February, 1711, he is described as a clothmaker.
He left his share of the business to Thomas Martin
on payment of £9,000 to his widow, to her mother
Mrs. Holbrooke, and to Nathaniel Torriame. After
the death of Andrew Stone Mr. Thomas Martin
carried on the business alone till 1714, when he
took into partnership his brother James. About
1780 or 1731 Thomas Martin retired, and Ebenezer
Backwell joined the firm.
It is quite impossible for us to give in detail here
the various changes that have with the ordinary run
of events taken place with regard to this house of
such venerable age. Let us, therefore, now confine
ourselves to a few facts both of interest and import-
ance so far as the bank's history is concerned. In
1766 Eichard Stone the younger married Miss Mary
Herring, and next year that lady's sister married
Sir Francis Baring. In 1764 John and Francis
Baring opened an account at " The Grasshopper,"
and with their constantly increasing foreign and
colonial connection their accounts grew to very great
dimensions, and continued exceedingly active until
the temporary check occurred which necessitated the
reconstruction of the firm.
On the death of Eichard Stone in 1802 the vacancy
was filled by the election in 1806 of James, the
younger brother of John Martin. Henry Stone,
a partner who had come on the scenes m 1823,
died in 1844, and the business was left in the hands
of the three brothers, John, James, and Robert
Martin, and George Stone the younger. The latter
died in 1861, when the family became extinct in the
main line, and thus after the lapse of 183 years the
business once more became Martin & Co, Here it
may be interesting to record that Mr. Robert Martin
married Anne, the daughter of John Biddulph, of
the banking i&rm of Cocks, Biddulph & Co., of
Charing Cross, and their two sons, Richard Biddulph
Martin and John Biddulph Martin, joined the firm
at the beginning of 1861 and 1864 respectively.
In" 1875 the senior partner, John Martin, retired.
In 1876 his eldest son, Waldyce Alexander Hamilton
Martin, joined the firm. After the sudden death of
James Martin in 1878, the business was left for two
years in the hands of Richard B. Martin and John B.
Martin and their cousin, W. A. H. Martin, the last
name retiring in 1880. Then Fredk. H, Norman,
whose mother was the daughter of Henry Stone,
came on the scenes, and in 1864 his brother, Edward
Norman, was admitted. "The firm thus constituted,"
says Mr. J. B. Martin, "re-united the families of
Martin and Stone in business relations, all the four
partners having a common ancestry through Richard
Stone, the second of the name, by his marriage with
Mary Herring." The father of the two new partners
was for many years a director of the Bank of
England, while the eldest son was a partner until
his death, in 1889, with the firm of Baring Brothers.
The records of the transactions of the eminent firm
are complete from 1731. In the books there is an
entry in 1751 —
" To Brydges for killing the Buggs in the shop,
Poor Brydges I how little did he think when he
was calmly and quietly executing his strange com-
mission in 1751 that, more than 150 years afterwards,
his action would be commented on, and his curious
occupation cause an amused smile to flit over the
faces of the heads of houses, which in his time were
not even contemplated.
From 1720 to 1750 the business men of the day
were in a state of frenzied excitement, making vast
profits only to rush into tremendous speculations and
finally to be buried in a hopeless ruin. Gay in his
letter to Moon (a goldsmith) says :
When credit sank and commerce gasping lay,
Thou stoodst, nor sent one bill unpaid away :
When not a guinea chinked on Martin'' s hoards,
And Atwell's self was drained of all his hoards.
"The Grasshopper" was rebuilt in 1794. The
records of the bank show that it has long been
a custom of the firm to take into partnership men
who have served them as clerks.
We are sure that all our readers will be only too
pleased to scan the following copy of the balance-
sheet for the year 1731.
Drs. to Sever all.
& ». d.
In the Ledger 139,995 3 2
In the Note- Book 19,476 16 9
£159,471 19 11
£ s. d.
Discount Book 83,177 4 11
Ledger out of Cash 1,724 7 3
Bailee, in Cash 74,570 7 9
£159,471 19 11
"The before-written accounts in Fol. 1, 2, 8
and 4 containe the perticulers of Debts owing by
Mr. James Martin & Company on the 24tli Decem-
ber last, when Mr. Eobert Surman came in a part-
ner. And in Folio 5 and 6 is an account and
Valuation of the eJBfects to answer the same in our
" James Martin.
'• E. Surman.
** EicHD. Stone."
** Jno. Martin."
From the published researches of Mr. J. B. Martin,
in his entertaining book on '* The Grasshopper," we
take the following list of some notable customers
who have honoured the famous old bank with their
1731. James Jenner.
1732. James Buchanan.
1748. J. Peter Burrell.
J. Fuller ton.
1744. Quarles Harris.
1749. Van Voorst & Boon.
1748. John Aislabie.
1761. Gonville and Caius
Dr. Thomas Heber-
1763. George Gostling.
1764. John and Francis
Baring & Co.
Capt. Charles Bod- 1770. Charrington, Moss
dam. & Co.
Sir Francis Geary,
Jere. Eayment Ha,ds-
Nesbitts & Co.
Dr. Willm. Heberden.
E. & T. Neave.
Oxley & Co.
Sir John Temple,
Neave & Aislabie.
Admiral Francis Geary
Lady Anne Boswell.
1794. Wm. Upton.
1797. Lord LiHord.
1798. Angerstein & others.
Glutton & Sons.
1799. Atkinson & Co.
1748 there is a record of the account of the
Hospital for Exposed Children — now, most probably,
the FoundUng Hospital. In 1789 there appears an
account in the name of *• Sunday Schools."
The Metropolitan Bank (of England and Wales)
This is another of the big banks which came to
London from the Black Country, and "came to stay,"
although the bulk of its connection is far more with
the provinces than with the metropolis. As a member
of the London Bankers' Clearing House it holds a
position amongst the leading banks in the country.
It was incorporated on 1st August, 1866, as the
Birmingham Banking Company, with its head office
at Bennett's Hill, Birmingham. The authorised capital
was jei, 500,000, divided into 80,000 shares of £50
each. Between August, 1866, and June, 1867, there
were issued 16,684 of these shares. From time to
time the capital has been increased— thus in 1872
the authorised capital stood at £2,000,000; in 1880
at £8,500,000; in 1889, £5,000,000; and in 1892
at £7,500,000, at which figure it still remains. The
paid-up capital is now £500,000, while the reserve
fund amounts to £850,000.
This bank, like Lloyds and the London, City & Mid-
land, both of which also hailed from the capital
of the Midlands, owes much of its rapid progress to
amalgamations, though of late years these have taken
place but seldom. In 1880 the Stourbridge & Kid-
derminster Banking Company was taken over, to
be followed by the absorption nine years later of the
Staffordshire Joint- Stock Bank, Limited. These two
amalgamations greatly enlarged the sphere in which
the bank had hitherto worked. In 1889 the Bir-
mingham Banking Company made their biggest coup
by the absorption of the Koyal Exchange Bank (of
London). It was a good stroke, for though the Royal
Exchange Bank had had a very chequered career, and
changed its name on one, if not two occasions, it had
a seat in the London Bankers' Clearing House, to attain
which is the aim and ambition of almost every bank
in the country. True, the business of the Royal
Exchange — the old ''Metropolitan" — was but small,
and the reputation it enjoyed was none of the best.
Yet the fact remains it had a seat in the Temple of
Mammon — by some means or other it had been allowed
to cross the sacred threshold of the House — and hence
the new mid-country bank could enter London with a
certain amount of distinction, and at once occupy a
position which many much larger estabhshments had
ardently longed for for years. It was a good move
well worthy of the astute chief then at the helm.
Then it was that the name was changed to the
Metropolitan & Birmingham Bank, Limited, and the
same year the private bank of Cooper, Purton & Com-
pany was absorbed.
But by this time the directors of the Metropolitan
had the fever of amalgamation upon them, and could
not long remain quiescent. In 1892 the banking world
was greatly surprised by the announcement that the
South Wales Union Bank had been taken over with
all its branches, thus giving the Metropolitan a very
strong footing in South Wales and a splendid con-
nection in a very important district. The new ven-
ture necessitated another change of title, and it was
announced that in future the bank would be known
as '' The Metropolitan, Birmingham & South Wales
Then followed an important event in the bank's
history. It was at this time that the directors of
the National Bank of Wales were coquetting with
first one and then another of the leading London
banks. As a point of fact, the National Bank of
Wales was in the market, and there were undoubt-
edly several of the London Clearing Banks prepared
to buy it at a price for the sake of securing its
extensive connection in Wales. Apparently the first
favourite among the competitors were the London
City & Midland — or the London & Midland as it
then was — and to this institution the agency of the
Welsh bank was transferred. It was an open secret
that the transfer meant that an absorption would take
place a little later on, and that Mr. E. H. Holden
would be able to add one more to the list of banks
which the Midland had procured through his instru-
mentality. This time, however, the wiseacres were
entirely wrong in their prognostications. When every-
one felt assured that the amalgamation of the National
of Wales with the London & Midland was un fail
accompUj it fell through. It was late on a Saturday
night, in 1893, that negotiations were broken off
between the two banks : the folloicing Monday morning
the money articles of the leading newspapers con-
tained the announcement that "terms of amalgama-
tion " had been arranged between the Metropolitan,
Birmingham & South Wales Bank, Limited, and the
National Bank of Wales, Limited. That was one of
Mr. James Leigh's smartest moves. He had secured
numerous offices in various parts of Wales in which
his bank had hitherto not been represented, and also
a very extensive connection.
There was at the time a considerable amount of
correspondence in the South Wales Daily Neivs over
the terms of purchase. By some means the news-
paper received the information some time before the
shareholders had their circulars sent to them, but
though the controversy lasted some while it gradually
dwindled down and down until the amalgamation had
become one of the things of the past, and the share-
holders commenced to wonder what Mr. Leigh would
put before them next. There was no question what-
ever that the cost of the National Bank of Wales
was a great deal more than was anticipated, but it
redounds to the credit of the management of the
Metropolitan to say that when it was found that the
assets taken over fell a long way below the antici-
pated amount the matter was faced in a business-
like way, and the large reserve fund and some of
the surplus profits were utilized year by year, till
the bank had cleared off all the unexpected losses.
That this policy was a very wise one has been
amply proved by subsequent figures. The connection
had been secured, and after the needed pruning had
taken place, immediately began to bear fruit: and
ever since the bank has constantly consolidated its
The first branch was opened in Walsall in 1874,
and ever since then the bank has started new
establishments wherever opportunity served. A keen
eye has been kept on all neighbourhoods in the pro-
vinces likely to afford favourable prospects for bank
development, until to-day — in the Midland and South
Wales at all events — the Metropolitan has become an
important factor in the financial world.
From the very outset the bank bid fair to be a
success, since at the end of the first year the deposit
and current accounts amounted to nearly £600,000.
Four years later the total of this item had doubled.
In 1880 they were represented by more than
je2,600,000 ; in 1889 the total had turned £4,000,000 ;
in 1893, £6,000,000 ; in 1896 it was within an ace of
£7,000,000 ; and now it is nearly £8,600,000.
The first manager was Mr. Thomas F. Shaw, who
retired in 1876, and was succeeded by Mr. P. W.
Walker, who resigned his position the same year.
Then Mr. James Leigh took the helm as general
manager, and it was owing to his remarkably keen
business insight and his indefatigable exertions that
the bank made its way by great and rapid strides to
the position it now enjoys. When Mr. Leigh was
appointed general manager the bank was a small one,
comparatively speaking, when he died he left it one
of '* the clearing banks of London." The present
general manager is Mr. F. W. Nash.
It is of quite recent years that it was decided to
again change the designation of the institution, this
time to the " Metropolitan Bank (of England and
Wales), Limited." The alteration was a wise one, but
we feel that it would be still better if the title were
even further curtailed, so that the bank could be
known as " The Metropolitan Bank, Limited."
The report and balance-sheet for the year ended
81st December last were as follows : —
**In presenting the thirty-ninth annual report the
directors beg leave to state that the net profits for
the past year, after making ample provision for bad
and doubtful debts, and allowing for rebate on bills
current, amount to £85,469 10s. 7d., to which must
be added the amount brought forward from the
previous year, i61 1,955 4s. 7d., making a total dis-
posable sum of ^697,424 15s. 2d., which has been
appropriated as follows : —
•* Dividend of 12J per cent, per annum
for the half-year ended 80th June,
" Dividend of 15 per cent, per annum
for the half-year ended 31st Decem-
ber, payable 1st February next ... 87,500
" Income Tax paid for Shareholders 8,865 17 9
**Bank Premises Redemption Fund,
being ^61,000 and ^61,210 15s. 4d.
interest on the Fund, transferred
from the profits of the past year... 2,210 15 4
" Transferred to Officers' Pension Fund 2,500
*' Written off Bank Premises Account 5,000
"Balance carried forward 15,598 2 1
£97,424 15 2
3l8T December, 1904.
Liabilities. £ s. d.
Due by the Bank on Current, Deposit and other
Accounts 8,314,267 17 2
Seven Days and other Drafts 10,894 18 9
Foreign Bills negotiated as per contra 56,677 8 9
Bills for Collection as per contra 63,153 11 10
Rebate on Bills discounted 4,841 11 5
Paid-up Capital £500,000
Guarantee Fund 350,000
Bank Premises Redemption Fund 41,784 4 10
Dividend payable 1st February
Profit and Loss Account balance
carried forward 15,598 2 1
8,449,835 7 11
Investments, viz.: —
British and Indian Govern-
Colonial Government Securi-
ties, Railway and Corpora-
tion Stocks and Debenture
944,882 6 11
£9,394,717 14 10
Assets. £ 8. d.
Cash in hand and at the Bank of England ... 774,462 11 4
Cash at Call and at Short Notice 1.502,155 2 5
Bills of Exchange
4,242,622 7 2
Due to the Bank on Current and other Accounts,
after deducting provision for bad and doubt-
ful debts and contingencies 4,684,324 10 9
Foreign Bills negotiated as per contra 56,677 8 9
Bills for Collection as per contra 63,153 1110
Bank Premises and Furniture at London, Bir-
mingham, and Branches, less amount written
off this year 347,939 16 4
£9,394,717 14 10
The National Bank.
This bank was originally the National Bank of Ire-
land, and was founded as far back as 1885. Identi-
fied with this institution is the name of the great
Daniel O'Connell, a full length portrait of whom, by
Sir David Wilkie, hangs in the board-room of the
head office in Old Broad Street, London.
The original intention was to cater for the require-
ments of people resident in Ireland, and this has
been ever since constantly followed out, until to-day
one sees branches not only in almost every large
town, but in most of the smaller ones and villages
in the Emerald Isle. Despite the fact that for many
years the bank has enjoyed a very extensive London
business, Ireland itself has never been lost sight of
for a single day. Where there is not a branch there
is a sub-branch, or an office open for a few days a
week, or one open on certain days for a few hours
only. The National Bank is and has long been
essentially a caterer for **the people" — the little
tradesman, the small farmer, equally witli the mer-
chant, the landowner, and the manufacturer. It was
started on totally different lines to those of any of
the banks whose history we record in this volume.
This was the original plan : each branch opened was
treated in every respect* as though it were a separate
bank, always, of course, with the proviso, that in
case of need, the parent office might be called upon
to lend a helping hand. It was intended in the
first instance to divide the profits with the local body
of constituents specially interested in each branch.
The bank was a success from its start ; and greatly
gratified must the directors and their chairman have
been on seeing the rapid growth of the institution
which they had founded; and which had immediately
received the stamp of public approval, backed by
public support. The bank first started business at
Carrick-on-Suir on 28th January, 1835, and almost
at once it was found necessary to open branches in
various directions. On this point the following ex-
tracts from the first report, dated 25th May, 1836,
are very interesting. After giving a list of twenty
offices which had been opened up to that period,
the report continues : —
** Several other towns are under consideration, and
branches will be opened in them in the present year.
The directors are now engaged upon the formation
of a metropolitan bank in Dublin, as a branch of
the National Bank of Ireland, with very extensive
capital and objects, including a district hitherto
neglected in banking accommodation, by reason of
the privileges of the Bank of Ireland Charter, and
containing a population of 1,500,000 inhabitants ; but
the plan of the bank and its connection with the
National Bank of Ireland will be such as not ta
interfere with any of those privileges, also it will be
prepared to take advantage of any change made in
Continuing, the report refers in the following terms
to the work up to that time accomplished : —
** The directors cannot close this report without
adverting to the good effects, in so short a time,
already visible in Ireland, arising in some degree
from the extension of their operations, combined with
the high rate of agricultural prices in the past and
present years, as compared with the former ones, the
one enabling the agriculturist to dispose of his pro-
duce to advantage, and the other to discharge his
obligations with punctuality. It is hoped that by
due caution and the prudent development of the
country, many social evils will be mitigated, and
the National Bank of Ireland will be fully compen-
sated for ijjie part it has taken in promoting this
permanent object, by the strong hold it has been the
study of the directors to obtain for it in the affection
of the people."
Thus said the first report of the directors, with Mr.
Daniel O'Connell at their head. The forecast was
sanguine, but events have proved that the case was
not overstated. There can be no question that the
bank did rapidly secure *' the affection of the people,"
but, what is still more important, that affection is
greater now than ever. To use a phrase of the
day, the National Bank of Ireland '* caught on."
It was an experiment which turned out eminently
satisfactory : it was a new departure which speedily
showed that it was more than justified: it was a
revolution in the then existing banking world of Ire-
land, and we can quite understand how it is that
now, seventy years later, the painting of the founder
occupies so prominent a position in the board-room at
the head office in London.
Before going further with the history of this Irish
bank let us take a glance at the balance-sheet, show-
ing the result of the first eleven months trading.
Balancb-shbbt, 3l8T Decbmber, 1835.
£ s. d.
Capital 874,140 12 11
Deposits 256,638 12 1
Proprietors' undivided fund 14,520 15 11
£ s. d.
Investments 155,740 12 6
Securities 826,638 1 6
Specie and Cash at Bankers 166,47114 1
London preliminary expenses, to be liquidated in
four years . 8,547 3 8
Branch ditto ditto in five years 9,647 9 2
A little further on in this chapter we will give a
copy of the balance-sheet published for the year ended
81st December, 1904.
The first and only amalgamation or absorption ever
effected by the bank was the London & DubUn Bank
in 1847, BO that one can regard the great growth of
its figures as an evidence of steady and natural
increase of business with no undue and misleading
The bank opened an ojffice in London in 1854,
when the title was changed to " the National Bank,"
since when no alteration of the name has been made.
New shares were issued from time to time, and by
1865 the paid-up capital stood at £600,000. That
year a fresh issue of capital was made, and by this
time BO popular had the bank become that there was
not the slightest difficulty in having the full amount —
issued at a heavy premium — more than fully sub-
scribed for. The result was most gratifying — the paid-
up capital was increased by £600,000, and so stood
at £1,200,000. But on the issue the premiums received
amounted to half-a-million pounds sterling, and, to
the credit of directors and shareholders be it said,
that the whole of this large sum was at once placed
to the credit of the reserve fund. Later, the directors
took a very popular step : they decided to issue, as a
bonus, the remaining shares, the necessary sum paid-up
per share— namely, £300,000 — being withdrawn from the
reserve fund. The shareholders were greatly pleased,
and we have no doubt that a large influx of busi-
ness was the natural consequence. Ably supported by
their shareholders, and with the full confidence of
their customers, there is no need to wonder that the
subsequent progress was rapid, though steady.
By this distribution the paid-up capital was increased
to ^1,600,000, at which figure it has since remained.
It is almost a question whether the action of the
directors in making this distribution was not prema-
ture, although, of course, it was an impossibility to
foretell what was coming. The following year, 1866,
when the great panic was upon us, when banks were
closing their doors, merchants failing on all sides,
financiers coming to a crash, when credit was at its
lowest ebb, when business was paralyzed; when houses,
which had weathered the storms of a century, col-
lapsed like a pack of cards; when hundreds of thou-
sands of persons were ruined ; when many wealthy
people were reduced to poverty — that was the time
when the strength and stability of all the banks were
tested and their resources tried to the utmost. Like
all the rest the National felt the stress and strain,
and it weathered the storm, but for many a long
day afterwards it felt the effects. The bank made
heavy losses, amounting to upwards of £500,000
which amount, heavy though it was, was immedi-
ately written off the reserve fund. This was the
first and only serious blow the National had received :
the directors realized the gravity of the situation
and acted with promptiude. When the loss was
made, the then chairman (Sir Joseph Neale M'Kenna)
and the whole board resigned; the resignations were
accepted, new blood were introduced, with the result
that with caution, begotten of experience, the bank
again resumed its progress, and the bank immedi-
ately recommenced to build up a reserve, which to-day
reaches the highly satisfactory and very substantial
sum of ^6500,000.
It was five years after its advent in London that
the National Bank obtained a seat in the Clearing
House. That institution, established by private bankers
for private bankers, greatly objected to, and most
strenuously opposed strangers crossing the sacred
threshold of their *' Temple." The new f angled, so-
called, joint-stock banks were of mushroom growth,
and might at any moment wither and die. But, as
year by year they not only multiplied but rapidly
increased in strength and popularity, the private
bankers were reluctantly forced to the conclusion that
their rivals meant to compete with them. It was in
1859 that the National obtained admittance, and the
directors immediately felt the effect that this made to
The National is the one bank in the House, with
the exception of Parr's, which has the privilege of
issuing its own notes. So far as the latter is con-
cerned the issue is lilliputian, and was only recently
acquired by the absorption of a small bank in the
Isle of Man. As regards the National, however, the
note issue is a most important item. Glancing at a
list now before us containing the figures — from the
last published balance-sheets — of 100 banks in England,
Scotland, and Ireland, we note that with the excep-
tion of the Bank of Ireland, none other has so large
a note issue as the National. The circulation of the
National on the 81st December last was £1,094,986.
It is, of course, quite understood that the issue is in
Ireland only. The bank has one of the largest Stock
Exchange connections in the metropolis. Its situa-
tion in Old Bond Street lends itself, by reason of its
close proximity to the exchange, to this class of busi-
ness, and could the ordinary reader be in the Clearing
House on a settling day, he would be almost thunder-
struck by the rain of bundles and drafts thrown on
the dishes of the National "clearers." Yet the work
is carried through almost automatically, with no con-
fusion, no bustle. It is a matter for surprise that so
vast an amount of work can be got through in so
very limited a space of time.
That the bank is well managed and engineered
there can be no doubt, and it is equally clear that
its reputation is as high as that of any institution
in the House. While the word of the day appears
to be amalgamation the National is quite content to
pursue the even tenour of its way, increasing its
figures by increasing its business. Nor have the
authorities any reason to regret that policy which has
been so successful in the past and is, under the same
careful management, sure to be equally successful in
The following is a copy of the balance-sheet for the
half-year ended 81st December, 1904 : —
Balance- Sheet, SIst December, 1904.
Dr. £ s. d.
To Capital paid-up on 150,000 Shares 1,500,000
„ Rest or Undivided Profits— Consols at 87i ... 500,000
,, Notes in Circulation 1,094,986
„ Amount due by the Bank on Deposits and
Current Accounts 11.625,302 5 5
„ Acceptance to Bankers' Drafts and on Security 109,050
,, Rebate on Bills not due 11,567
,, Net Profits for the Half-year, including
£16,333 12s. lOd. brought forward from the
30th June, 1904 115,406 11 11
£14,856,311 17 4
Cr. £ e. d.
By Cash on hand at Head Offtce, Branches,
and Bank of England 1,494,48112 6
„ Money at Call and at Short Notice 1,970,617 12 2
,, Government Securities — including Rest or
Undivided Profits 1,532,474 14 9
,, Corporation, Railway, and other Stocks ... 152,308 8
,, Advances on Securities at sundry dates, and
Current Accounts 5,623,069 7 7
„ Bills discounted 3,661,956 18 10
,, Bankers' Guarantee and Securities held
against Acceptances, per Contra ... ... 109,050
,, Bank Premises — London, Dublin, and
Branches, Freehold and Leasehold 312,353 3 6
£14,856,811 17 4
The National Provincial Bank of England, Limited.
This bank stands out unique in one particular that
its formation was in contemplation so far back as
1830 — but only in contemplation. It was not "till
three years later that its capital was offered to the
public, and its reception by the public was exceed-
ingly gratifying, for in April, when the shares were
submitted no less than 13,168 were applied for, and
of this large number the directors allotted 8,340 only.
From the first report we gather that the Gloucester
branch was opened on New Year's Day, 1834,
a branch at Brecon on the 26th March following,
and at Walsall on 14th April, while arrangements
were then being made for establishments at Birming-
ham, Wotton-under-Edge, Boston and Wisbeach. The
statement of the accounts placed before the pro-
prietors OQ the 8th May, 1834, showed that the
paid-up capital then amounted to £101,545. This
appears almost ludicrous when placed side by side
with the capital as it stands in the balance-sheet of
The National Provincial had grasped the great
principle — the whole essence of joint-stock banking —
that the aggregate of a number of small balances
was quite equivalent to that of few large ones. They
came on the scenes prepared to cater for the people
— the masses — and like the County and the South-
Western (of later date) they did so most successfully.
The idea in the mind of the directors was to cater
for the provinces, and this they did, and are still
doing. The name of the National Provincial is
a household word in most of the leading towns, and
many of the principal villages, in the south of
England and the Midlands. But in addition to this
the name of the bank is not only known, but held
in high respect, by all colonial and foreign bankers.
For many a long day the National Provincial stood
head and shoulders above any other joint-stock bank
whose figures were available, purely and solely by
a steady increase of legitimate business. That is to
say, that their figures have not been inflated by
amalgamations and absorptions; there has been a
continuous steady increase of business, the result of
confidence, the reward of continuous steady endeavour.
Banks have risen, flourished, and fallen : there have
been tight corners — there has been Black Friday,
there has been the Baring crisis, there have been
the curious and unexpected variations in the Bank of
England rate, there have been many disturbances in
the foreign markets — but through one and all the
National Provincial has stood its ground, and not
only that, it has come out of the ordeal with flying
colours. When banks were stopping payment in all
directions the National Provincial held its own. There
was no stringency, no tightness of money : the lines
on which the bank was founded and worked were too
strong, too secure in every way. The principle had
been laid down that the bank was to work on joint-
stock lines, the business was for a class hitherto but
very inadequately considered. True, there were spring-
ing up various joint-stock institutions, but the National
Provincial, may be quite unintentionally, were one of
the early pioneers. They, with their one or two col-
leagues, were to teach Londoners what joint -stock
banking really meant, and were at the same time to
fall in line of defence against the private bankers who
looked upon the banking field of London as sacred
preserves of their own, within which none but the
specially favoured might enter, and over the threshold
of whose Clearing House it was profanity to attempt
The second report of the bank states : " The estab-
lishment in its formation has met with greater diffi-
culties than any similar institution, and it is with
no ordinary degree of satisfaction that the directors
have to congratulate the proprietors that those are
** The unanimity existing among the directors will
enable them to apply their undivided attention to the
proper and legitimate business of the company, and
it is gratifying to them to be able to state that,
from the short experience they have had, they feel
confident that the expectations originally entertained
by the proprietors will be fully realized."
There was a circular issued by the bank to which
attention should be called :
** 29«/t July, 1835.
"The great features which distinguishes a
joint- stock bank from a private banking partner-
ship is the unquestionable security which it
affords to the public for its notes, deposits, and
engagements of every description. This security
is obtained in the first place by the responsi-
bility of the shareholders for all the liabilities
of the bank; in the second place by the
amount of capital of the company ; and in
the third place the directors are called upon
annually for an account of their stewardship,
and to declare a dividend on the profits they
have made, and it is beyond .the limits of
probable villainy or possible fraud that they
should do this otherwise than honestly. . . .
With private banks in this country, on the
other hand, undoubtedly there are many which
realize large profits, and are as solvent as any
bank can be, but the public has no evidence
Perhaps there may be, and probably is, a vein of
truth running through these remarks, for they seem
to have been penned by men who were writing in
the light of their own times, but the expressions
** possible fraud " and " probable villainy " seem
hardly in keeping with public opinion of the present
day. There were unquestionably, and probably there
are now in the fold of private bankers some black
sheep, some who are stemming the adverse current
of constant demands by subterfuge, but it is a con-
soling thought that they are few and far between.
At the same time there are some provincial banks
running very close indeed to the wind.
We do not think that it is a matter of general
knowledge that although the bank had a London office
from the very first, it was not used for ordinary
London banking business till 1865.
Keferring to our previous comment anent the country
and provincial business which the bank decided to
bid for, we may say that during the year 1884-35
no less than twelve branch establishments were
opened, Bath, Cardiff and Cheltenham being amongst
the number. But the following year the directors
showed far more distinctly what was their real policy
and what was the actual value they placed on a wide
country connection, for during the twelve months no
less than thirty-five branch establishments were opened,
amongst which were those at Aberystwith, Bristol,
Leicester and Stowmarket. At Barnstaple the busi-
ness of the North Devon Bank was taken over ;
and the directors closed the branch at Walsall,
"where the business had always been dangerous,
and where a large portion of the capital of the
company was absorbed which could be much better
employed in other quarters." In 1837 the business
of Messrs. Skinner & Co., private bankers, was
absorbed, and this enabled the bank to be repre-
sented at Stockton and Darlington, while, about the
same time, branches were opened at Devonport, Ply-
mouth, Kingsbridge, Manchester, Eamsgate, Exeter
and Newcastle-Emlyn. And here diverting for a
moment let us say that the Manchester branch was
opened " with a view, in the first instance, of facili-
tating the operations of the other branches of the
company, especially those in North Wales." It is amus-
ing to read this extract of some sixty-five years ago,
and then glance at the magnificent building which so
splendidly represents the National Provincial Bank of
England in Manchester to-day, and at the same time
to bear in mind that the directors at the date of
its establishment expressed the hope ** that, at a fit-
ting season, it may be very serviceable in the interests
of the company." And here we cannot omit giving
a short extract from the fourth report, as comparing
things of to-day with those of long ago, the contrast
strikes one immediately. On the date of the fourth
report the bank had fifty-six offices, and the directors^
stated ** the transfers between the branches average
about £60,000 a week, making a total of £8,000,000
monthly ! "
Compare this with the balance due on current and
deposit accounts of some £51,000,000 to-day 1 The
one is the turn-over, the other the standing balance.
In 1888 the Eugely, Tamworth & Lichfield Bank-
ing Company was taken over, as was also the busi-
ness of Messrs. Husband & Co., of Devonport, and
that of Messrs. Browse & Co., of Brixham, while
branches were opened at Southampton and Portsea.
In the report for 1888 it was notified that the
premises in Bishopsgate Street had been acquired on
favourable terms, and it was there that the next
annual meeting of the shareholders was held.
In 1841 the business of Fryes, Andrews & Co.
was acquired, and that of the Dover Bank (Fector's),
while next year Cole, Holroyd & Co.'s business (of
Exeter) was taken over. In 1845 the National Pro-
vincial absorbed Loveband & Co. (of Torrington),
Ley & Co. (of Bideford), and Pretor & Co. (of Sher-
borne) ; while the dissolution of the Isle of Wight
Joint- Stock Bank enabled them to open a branch at
Newport. Three years later the Stockton & Durham
County Bank was absorbed, and in 1854 the private
bank of Kennersley & Sons, of Newcastle-under-Lyme ;
and in 1859 that of WiUiam Moore, of Stone. In
1867 the business of Crawsbay, Bailey & Co., of
Newport, was taken over, and, in 1870, that of
Morris & Co., of Carmarthen ; while seven years after-
wards the Bank of Leeds was absorbed. Then, so
far as amalgamations were concerned, the bank
remained in a quiescent state till 1902, when the
Enaresborough & Clare Bank was taken over, which
gave the National Provincial openings and estab-
lished businesses at Harrogate, Knaresborough, Eipon,
Wetherley, Boroughbridge, Pateley Bridge and Mas-
ham. So we may fairly take it that whereas within
the last fifteen or twenty years a certain set of banks
have been increasing their figures by leaps and bounds,
the National Provincial have " stood on their own
bottom," and to-day can hold up their head with the
A word or two as to the capital. In 1853 the
paid-up capital was £450,000, By subsequent issues of
shares the paid-up capital was increased to £1,080,000
in 1866. In 1874 this item stood at £1,350,000, and
in 1878 it was £1,687,500. From time to time it has
been increased till to-day it stands at the magnificent
sum of £3,000,000, with a reserve fund of no less
With regard to current and deposit accounts the
first figures were published in 1867, when they showed
that on the last day of the previous December this
item stood at a little over £3,000,000. In 1872 the
total exceeded £20,000,000. By the 31st December,
1891, the item amounted to more than £40,000,000,
and at the present time the confidence which the
public has in the establishment is clearly demon-
strated by the fact that more than £50,000,000 are
entrusted to it.
The bank was registered as an unlimited company
in 1873, and as limited in 1880. In 1863 the
directors ''had come to the full conviction that the
interest of the bank required that its operations
should be extended to London at the earliest possible
moment," and, as most people know, the suggestion
was at once acted upon. This step was a wise one
in every sense of the word. The career of progress
had been started but the fulcrum was not right :
London was needed as the pivot round which all the
future business must perforce turn, and very speedily
the directors found this to be the case. A fresh era
of prosperity was commenced ; a vista of further pos-
sibilities was opened up which the then directors were
not slow to avail themselves of. The present building
in Biehopsgate Street is one of the finest in London,
but though the bank authorities see fit to assess
" Premises " in the balance-sheet at an absurdly low
figure, every business man knows perfectly w^ell that
in the item *' Bank Premises " the bank holds another
magnificent reserve fund — to be touched only in the
direct case of necessity — but still there.
We append hereto the balaaice-sheet, shewing the
accounts of the bank on the 31st December, 1904 : —
Liabilities, £ s. d.
Capital : —
40,000 Shares of £75 each, £10 10s. paid ... 420,000
215,000 „ £60 „ il2 „ ... 2,580,000
Reserve Fund 2,300,000
Current, Deposit, and other Accounts, including
rebate on Bills not due, provision for bad and
doubtful debts, etc 50,693,477 14 6
Acceptances and Endorsements of Foreign Bills
on Account of Customers 390,578
Profit and Loss Account : —
Balance of Profit and
Loss Account, including
£83,288 5s. 4d. brought
from year 1903 £631,476 18
Less Interim Divi-
dend, 8 per
cent, paid in
August last... £240, 000
„ Dividend of
9 per cent,
February next 270,000
,, Transferred to
chase A/c. ... 20,000
,, Transferred to
A/c. ... 15,000
£56,470,532 12 6
Assets. £ s. d.
At Bank of England and at Head Office and
Branches 7,820,752 13 4
„ Call and Short Notice 3,648,850 17 6
11,469,603 10 10
Investments : — £ s. d.
English Government Securi-
ties 8,811,833 18 3
Indian and Colonial Govern-
ment Securities ; Deben-
ture, Guaranteed and Pre-
ference Stocks of British
Railways ; British Corpora-
tion and Waterworks Stocks 5,116,312 1 2
Canal, Dock, River Conser-
vancy, and other Invest-
ments 517,678 4 4
14,445,824 3 9
Customers for Acceptances and Endorsements of
Foreign Bills, per Contra 390,578
Bills Discounted, Loans, etc 29,517,452 2 2
Bank Premises in London and Country 647,074 15 9
£56,470,532 12 6
Parr's Bank, Limited.
This is one of the great amalgamating banks in the
country, although for some considerable time it has
remained in a quiescent state, content in developing
the various businesses already secured. Coming to
London with all the keenness of Lancashire it soon
made its advent felt and its influence recognised,
thanks mainly to the indomitable energy and enter-
prise of its then general manager, Mr. John Dun.
The history of the institution is somewhat inter-
esting. In the days of old it frequently chanced that
merchants in London, but more especially in the pro-
vinces, added to their other business that of banker
to a limited extent. When roads were not safe, when
highwaymen and footpads were abroad, it was by no
means wise to travel after sunset with any consider-
able sum of money on the person. Hence it was
that many tradesmen and merchants, to oblige their
customers, volunteered to keep their money for them,
and so popular did this practice become that the
holder would often offer a small rate of interest as
an inducement to the customer to leave his money
longer, and to deposit still more. It will be remem-
bered that the original bank of Coutts & Co. started in
this way, while the world-known firm of Barclay & Co.
is said to have been founded indirectly by a trades-
man of London, and the old firm of Smith, Payne, &
Smiths — but recently amalgamated with the Union —
dates back to a Nottingham draper. Many other of
the old banks were founded in the same manner.
It was thus that Parr's was established in Warring-
ton, but there is a good deal of uncertainty as to the
date of its origin. Well-known and highly respected
as were the members of the firm, the new departure
met with great public approval and ready support;
and, even to-day, there is no banking institution better
known or more respected in that part of England than
Parr's. The banking department having progressed so
satisfactorily, a limited company was formed in 1865,
with a capital of £1,000,000, divided into 10,000 shares
of £100 each, of which £10 per share, or £100,000,
was paid-up, to take over that part of the business.
A few months afterwards the new company — Parr's
Banking Company — bought the old established business
of Thomas Firth & Son, of North wich ; and, two years
later, that of the Metropolitan & Provincial Bank, of
Macclesfield. These, however, were only the prelude
to what was to follow. Having once became fairly
established the next point was to strengthen the
position by increasing the amount of capital, so as
to cope with the increasing business. In 1871 a call
of £5 per share was made ; and three years after-
wards, another call for a like amount. At that time
4,500 new shares were issued, owing to the purchase
of the business of Woodcock, Sons & Eckersley. As
amalgamations were effected the capital was from time
to time increased, and the reserve fund was pro-
portionately increased, until to-day the total sub-
scribed is represented by ^68, 542, 500, and the amount
paid-up by ^61,708,500, while the reserve fund stands
at a similar substantial sum.
In 1877 Parr's took over the private bank of
F. W. Jennings, of Leek; in 1878, Dixons & Co.,
of Chester ; and in 1883 the National Bank of
Liverpool was absorbed. The bank having greatly
strengthened its position in the north, the next
thing was to make a move south, and all eyes
were turned on London. Every bank director and
manager of a clearing-bank knew perfectly well that
all Parr's was waiting for was an opening, since
for Mr. John Dun to have made up his mind to
carry through any project it might be considered as
good as accomplished. It was not long before it
became known that Parr's had actually achieved their
ambition. An extraordinary general meeting of the
shareholders was held at Warrington on 25th July,
1891, when the chairman said, ''The total turnover
of the bank amounted to a large sum in the past
year, and of this amount rather more than one-half
passed through London ; and it is partly for this
reason, and partly also in order to take the place
which we believe our large transactions and impor-
tant banking position fully warrant, to secure the
advantages of a share of London business, an open-
ing to the London market for the employment of
surplus funds, admission to the London Clearing
House, and to obtain greater capability for giving in-
creased facilities to our commercial friends in Warring-
ton, Liverpool, and elsewhere, that your directors
have for some time past considered it desirable to
seek an opportunity for an union with some good
bank in the city of London, whereby the objects they
had in view might be attained, and they have now
the honour and pleasure of announcing that an
arrangement for an amalgamation has been concluded
between the partners of the very old established and
much-respected banking firm of Fuller, Banbury,
Nix & Co., of 77 Lombard Street, London, and
Parr's Banking Company, whereby your bank obtains
entrance to London, and, by means of a first-class
connection in the city, will command all the advan-
tages I have enumerated, besides many others which
such a position may be expected to afford." Such
was the announcement. London bankers were in no
way surprised, they had expected something of the
kind, although few thought that little Fullers would
have been the house selected. As Fuller's had for
many a long year enjoyed a seat in the House,
Parr's naturally inherited it. But all the London
bankers were cognizant of one thing: they had now
in their midst a most capable and formidable rival,
and it would be incumbent upon them to put out
all their powers if they did not want to be left
behind in the running. All knew that Parr's had
come to stay, and that the management were deter-
mined to forge their way ahead. Few were pre-
pared for the announcement in 1892 that Parr's had
secured the Alhance, a most important joint-stock
bank with a very extensive stock exchange connec-.
tion, as well as a very wide general business. The
advantage of this connection was patent to every
financial man — Parr's had obtained by this move an
admirable output for any surplus funds they might
at any time wish to loan. The premises of the
AUiance were extensive, the position in Bartholmow
Lane and close by Capel Court, and in the heart
of the stock-broking world, magnificent. The name
was then changed to Parr's Banking Company & the
Alliance Bank, Limited — a title as un wieldly as it
was unnecessary. Little or no wonder was expressed
when some few years later this cumbrous nomencla-
ture was altered to Parr's Bank, Limited. The general
public is not by any means in favour of long rig-
maroles as the designation of firms, and experience
shows that the shorter the title the more it is
In 1894 Parr's was fortunate in arranging terms
of amalgamation with the old and highly respected
private bank, Sir Samuel Scott, Bart., & Co., of
Cavendish Square ; and in the same year the private
bank of Shrubsole & Co., of Kingston-on-Thames,
was purchased. This was a comparatively small insti-
tution, but very sound, and with a remarkably good
reputation. Two years later the business of the
Consolidated Bank, in Threadneedle Street, was pur-
chased, thus gaining Parr's a further fine stock
exchange connection. Two years later the Derby &
Derbyshire Banking Company, Limited, was absorbed.
In 1900, by a capital stroke of business, Parr's took
over Dumbell's, of the Isle of Man, practically the
bank of the island, and in 1902 a splendid new
footing in Leicestershire was obtained by the absorp-
tion of Fare's Leicestershire Banking Company, Limited.
The reserve fund of a bank we consider a most
important item, and with regard to Parr's it is
interesting to note that, started in 1865 with £1,000,
it was continuously and steadily increased year by
year. In 1871 it reached £54,921, when £45,921 was
written off the purchase account. The following year
the additions made brought the fund up to £25,000,
and ever since continuously additions have been made
with the result that to-day the amount of the reserve
equals the paid-up capital. When the amalgamation
took place with the Alliance in 1892, the reserve
fund was increased to £1,000,000 — now it stands at
£1,708,600, a figure which should put to rest the
minds of all shareholders so far as the stability of
the bank is concerned.
We have not a copy of the first published balance-
sheet of the bank before us, but we are in a position
to give the most important items. For 1866 the
Capital issued £1,000,000
Capital paid-up 100,000
Reserve Fund fiil
Deposit and Current Accounts... 906,661
Acceptances ... ... ... 1,208
Purchase Account 100,000
Balance of Profit and Loss ... 11,304
Cash in hand, at Bank of Eng-
land, and at Call and Short
Bills Discounted and Loans ... 839,086
Preliminary Expenses 862
Bank Premises and Furniture ... 6,677
After glancing at these ^figures it will be of
interest to look at the last published balance-sheet,
and make a comparison. After forty years of work
the bank published the following statement as record-
ing their position on the 81st December, 1904 : —
Gbneeal Balancb, 3l8T Dbcbmbbr, 1904.
Capital— 85,425 Shares of £100
To Amount paid up — £20 per
Share on 85,425 Shares ..
,, Reserve Fund
,, Due by the Bank on Cur-
rent Accounts, Deposit
Accounts, Deposit Re-
ceipts, and Circular Notes
,, Notes in circulation in the
Isle of Man
,, Drafts Current (payable
within 21 days), Custo-
mers' Acceptances advised,
,, Acceptances on behalf of
,, Foreign BiUs Negotiated...
,, Dividend to be now paid...
,, Bonus of 1 per cent,
^. Bank Premises Account ...
„ OflOlcers' Pension and Pro-
,, Balance of Profit and Loss,
carried forward ...
270,040 7 7
d6 s. d. £ s. d.
By Cash on hand and at Bank
of England 4,764,414
,, Money at call and short
notice 5,858,652 14 7
10,623,066 14 7
„ £1,000,000 Consols at 85 ... 850,000
„ Other Imperial Govern-
ment Securities (of which
£240,000 lodged as security
for Public Accounts and
tho Note Issue in the Isle
of Man) British Railway
Debenture and other first-
class Stocks 2,317,619 18 *
3,167,619 18 4
18,790,686 12 11
„ Bills Discounted 2,884,713 1 2
,, Loans and Advances to
Customers, after deduct-
ing provision for ail bad
and doubtful debts, etc. ... 15,543,354 15 8
,, Acceptances on behalf of
Customers, as per contra 3,531,052 3 6
,, Foreign Bills Negotiated,
as per contra 42,832 11
„ Bank Premises and Furni-
ture 835,939 6 1
When the first report was issued the bank had
branches at Northwich, Euncorn, St. Helen's, Widnes,
and Winsford. In 1891 the head-office was removed
from Warrington to London, Lombard Street, and when
the amalgamation with the Alliance took place it was
again removed to Bartholomew Lane, the premises
there being only recorded as the registered office. At
the present time the bank has branches in all the
important or rising London suburbs, as well as a splen-
did country connection. The directors and managers
of this bank have achieved their ambition ; they have
succeeded in making Parr's a power in the financial
world, an institution whose opinion carries great
weight, a rival which has worked its way steadily
upwards till it to-day holds the proud honour of
being one of the first six banks in the country.
Messrs. Eobarts, Lubbock & Co.
Year by year, for a long time past, the private
"banks in this country have been steadily decreasing
in number owing mainly to amalgamation, absorption
or purchase. Since some of the joint- stock banks in
the provinces were able to get into London and
obtain a seat in the Clearing House there has been
a steady tide of absorption flowing, each bank having
a deeply rooted idea that it must attain as quickly
as possible a topmost position amongst the joint-stock
banks in the metropolis. The three greatest rivals
in this direction have been Lloyds, Parr's, and the
London, City & Midland, with the Metropolitan of
England and Wales and the Capital & Counties
following in the rear. Not only the joint- stock but
private banks have come under the sway of the great
amalgamators. Of the private banks, all of which had
seats in the Clearing House, there have disappeared
in comparatively recent years, Messrs. Barclay & Co.,
Messrs. Barnett, Hoares & Co., Messrs. Bosanquet,
& Co., Messrs. Dimsdale, Fowler & Co., Messrs.
Fuller, Banbury & Co., Messrs. Prescott & Co.,
Messrs. Smith, Payne & Smiths. In addition to
these, Messrs. Glyn & Co. have registered themselves
as an unlimited, and Messrs. Martin & Co., as a
limited company. Thus it is that at the present
moment Messrs. Eobarts, Lubbock & Co. have the
proud distinction of being the sole remaining purely
private bank in the " House." In 1854, when first
the joint-stock banks were admitted, the number of
private firms already enjoying seats was twenty-five.
The last of the old private banks in London to
succumb to the wiles and fascinations of the amalga-
mator was the highly respected and very old house of
Smith, Payne & Smiths. So that the subject of this
chapter is now the only survivor of all the old
private banks in the City, and can date its origin
as far back as 1772. It has held its own for more
than 130 years in spite of the many financial crises
which have occurred during that long period; it has
faced all the keen competition of the joint-stock insti-
tutions of to-day, and it has refused all tempting
suggestions to sink its identity by purchase or absorp-
tion by any of the joint-stock banks be the offers
never so tempting. Other equally old, or even older
houses have succumbed to the wiles of the tempter,
but the firm of Kobarts, Lubbock seems as though
it could easily be in the running in a century hence,
as it is to-day.
The bank was established as far back as 1772, it
being started on February 5th of that year at 11
Mansion House Street, under the name of Messrs.
Lemon, Buller, Furley, Lubbock & Co. Two years
later the name appears in the list of bankers as at
the address 14 Abchurch Lane; but the change could
only have been temporary, as, in 1776, the firm was
conducting business at 11 Mansion House Street as
before, the title then being Sir William Lemon, Buller,
Furley, Lubbock & Co. Thus it continued till 1782.
In 1785 Sir William Lemon's name disappears, and
Mr. Bosanquet joins the firm, the title then appear-
ing as Forster, Lubbock, Bosanquet & Co. A Mr.
Bosanquet appears to have been connected with the
bank till 1800, when he left, and entering into part-
nership with Messrs. Beachcroft & Beeves, opened a
banking house at 78 Lombard Street, under the name
of Bosanquet, Beachcroft & Beeves.
In 1801 the name ♦•Lubbock" appears as " Lub-
bocks," from which one infers that other members of
the family must have joined the firm, which was then
styled Forster, Lubbocks, Forster & Clark — the name
Clark then appearing for the first time. In 1812
another of the Forster family seems to have been
elected a partner, as the title of the firm at that
date was Forster, Lubbocks, Forsters & Clark.
Two years later another change took place in the
name, as it is given as Lubbock, Sir John, Bart.,
Lubbock, Forsters & Clark. In 1820 the house
was known as that of Sir J. W. Lubbock, For-
ster & Clark. The name of Clark . disappeared in
In 1860 an amalgamation took place between this
house and that of Eobarts, Curtis & Co., and from
that time business has been carried on at 15 Lom-
A word or two about Eobarts, Curtis & Co.
This firm first appears, under date 1792, as Eobarts,
Curtis, Were, Hornyold, Berwick & Co., carrying on
business at 86 Cornhill, City, but five years later
they removed to 15 Lombard Street. In 1799 the
name Berwick does not appear in the title of the
In 1802 the list of bankers gives Eobarts, Curtis,
Hornyold & Co., as of 18 Exchange Alley ; but,
three years later, business was again conducted at
15 Lombard Street, under the title of Eobarts, Curtis,
Bobarts & Curtis. The name was again changed
in 1818 to Sir William Curtis, Eobarts & Curtis.
Another change took place in 1854, when the firm's
designation was altered to Eobarts, Curtis & Co.
This title was retained till 1860, in which year an
amalgamation was effected with Lubbock, Forster & Co.
Two years later the title of the bank was again
altered,' this time to Eobarts, Lubbock & Co., the
title it enjoys at the present time.
At the present time the partners of the firm are :
The Eight Hon. the Lord Avebury.
Abraham John Eobarts, Esq.
William Cotton Curtis, Esq.
Henry James Lubbock, Esq.
Beaumont William Lubbock, Esq.
Cecil Chaplin, Esq.
Thomas Edward Eobarts, Esq.
Hon. John Birkbeck Lubbock.
George Cotton Curtis, Esq.
That these gentlemen are admirably adapted to the
important position they hold there can be no ques-
tion, since, as we have already stated, the history
of the bank shows a continuous progress. This can
be readily seen by a glance at the appended copy
of the last published balance-sheet.
Balanob-Shbet, SlsT January, 1905.
Liabilities. £ 8. d.
iTo Paid-up Capital and Eeserve Fund 500,000
„ Current and Deposit Accounts 3,585,455 12 7
,, Acceptances against Approved Securities ... 70,070 1 6
£4,155,525 14 1
Assets. £ 8. d.
By Cash in hand and at Bank of England ... 855,585 19 3
„ Cash at Call and at Short Notice 1,002,700
,, Consols 2i per cent. Stock
£400,000 at 85 340,000
,, Transvaal 8 per cent. Stock
£100,000 at 97 97,000
,, Indian and Colonial Government Securities
and English Corporation Stock 141,412 15 4
,, English Railway Debentures and Prefer-
ence Stocks and other Investments ... 159,227 8 9
,, Bills Discounted, Loans and Advances to
Customers 1,359,783 6 7
,, Liability of Customers for Acceptances per
Contra 70,070 1 6
„ Freehold Bank Premises 129,746 2 8
£4,155,525 14 1
And now a word or two about Lord Avebury, the
head of this old, influential and respected banking-
house. He was bom 80th April, 1884, and educated
at Eton. He succeeded as fourth baronet in 1866.
In every respect he is one of the most remarkable
men of his time : his fame is world wide. He is
one of the leading lights in the financial firmament,
to whom all bankers turn. Nor is it in the bank-
ing world alone that he stands out pre-eminent.
Amongst the scientists and men of letters he is
regarded as one on the topmost rungs of the ladder
of fame. His deep thought, his great capacities for,
and patience in investigating small things, and his
remarkable ability in publishing the result of his
deep and astute researches in an unusually easy
style have made his books on everyday subjects
exceedingly popular. The young men of to-day when
they are starting in business cannot possibly do
better than read and carefully think over his advice
on work, rest, and recreation. On all banking matters
he has for many years past been regarded as one of
the greatest authorities of the period, and in every-
thing connected with finance generally he is equally
at home. He is the head of the largest financial
institution in the world — the London Bankers' Clear-
ing House — he is chairman, also, of the London
Bankers' Association, and of the Central Association
of Bankers. He was unanimously elected some twenty-
one years ago president of the Bank Clerks' Orphan-
age, an ofiBce which he has ever since occupied.
lu 1900 he was created Baron Avebury, of Ave-
He is a trustee of the British Museum ; hon.
D.C.L. of Oxford; hon. LL.D. of Cambridge, Dublin
and Edinburgh; hon. M.D., "Wiirzburg; president of
the Linnean Society, of the London Chamber of
Commerce; vice-president of the Boyal Society;
a J.P. and D.L. for Kent; a Lieutenant for the
City of London ; a Commander of the Legion of
Honour; and for some time chairman of the London
County Council. For many years he has been a privy
We have here given only a few of the distinctions
enjoyed by his lordship, and have omitted altogether
the honours conferred on him by foreign countries.
With the people he is best known as Sir John
Lubbock, whose name has and always will be con-
nected with bank-holidays. It is quite possible, nay
more than probable, that when Sir John introduced
his bill into the House he had no idea how far
reaching would be its effects. The House, always
attentive to anything that fell from his lips, listened
in astonishment. The usual course of discussion took
place, and in due course the bill was passed and
entered on our statute books. It very soon became
apparent that it affected rich and poor alike — the
wealthy banker or merchant had his day's holiday,
so did the office-boy and the factory-girl ; the govern-
ment officials and the stockbrokers had a holiday,
HO did the typeists, the shop-girls, and the dress-
makers. It was a grand idea — nobly conceived and
ably carried out. It is now compulsory that many
hundred of thousands of toilers should have each year
a certain few days rest, which in many instances they
would never have obtained. And for this the name
of Sir John Lubbock (Lord Avebury) is held in deep
affection all over the country.
It is with regret we cannot give a fuller and
more detailed account of this old house which was
founded in the years of long ago, when the idea of
joint-stock banking had not even been conceived,
when the bankers of London were simply "gold-
smiths kepeing running cashes."
The Union of London & Smiths Bank.
Few, if any, banks Lave been so prominently before
the public during recent years as this great institu-
tion, whose head office occupies one of the finest,
if not the finest position in London. A magnificent
stately stone building, it stands at the corner of
Princes Street and Cheapside, facing the Old Lady
of Threadneedle Street, looking down upon the
Mansion House, at the meeting of seven main roads —
Princes Street, Threadneedle Street, Cornhill, Lombard
Street, King William Street, Cheapside, Queen Vic-'
toria Street, as well as other thoroughfares of minor
degree. But the business is as important as the
building in which it is conducted, since after many
years of comparative quiescence the Union of late
years has wakened up to the importance of its
position in the banking world, and has recognized
the weight of its responsibilities, and consequently,
has started quite a new era of activity with apparently
the view of keeping pace with the rapid strides the
banking world is making, and determined not to lose
its place in the running, but to maintain its position
against the terribly keen competition of to-day. As
things are now there is no standing still, no resting
on one's oars, one must either swim with the tide or
be hopelessly stranded in the course of time. When
the Union wakened up, the directorate realized their
position, they put new fire into their work, they
made up their minds they would hold their own,
and would not tolerate the idea of the younger insti-
tutions supplanting them in the world's opinion, and
so determined to launch out on quite different lines.
They would no longer be content with the limited
scope of their already great business; there were fields
hitherto practically untrodden, they must enter them.
Although the tide of amalgamation was very strong,
and almost at flood, there were even j^et many
thoroughly sound and very old institutions which had
not listened to the seductive voice of the charmer.
Perhaps they could play a more attractive and allur-
ing tune : if so, why should they, too, not join the
ranks of the progressives ? The result was long in
coming, but it is with us now, as we shall presently
The Union is one of the oldest of the joint-stook
banks in the metropolis. It was founded on 4th Feb-
ruary, 1839, with a capital of £3,000,000 divided
into 60,000 shares of ^650 each, of which 42,290 were
issued, and £5 per share was paid. Two years later
a call of £5 per share was made. The remainder
were reserve shares, and were issued at a premium
of £5 per share in 1854. In 1860 a portion of
the reserve fund was capitalized, £2 being credited
to the amount paid on each share. The year 1860
is one which the bank will never forget, as it is
"writ large" in its annals by reason of the great
**Pullinger" frauds. PuUinger was at that time the
chief cashier of the bank, a position which he had
long held, and it was in 1860 that it was discovered
that he had embezzled something like a quarter of
a million pounds sterling. On this discovery being
made the directors acted with courage and energy.
The blow was a heavy one, could its effects be
moderated ? Again, was it not the right of the
proprietors of the bank — the shareholders — to be told
bad news as well as good? The board soon arrived
at a decision : a circular was sent round to the
shareholders informing them not only of the magni-
tude of the loss, but also the plan by which it was
proposed to meet it. There can be no question that
this prompt action on the part of the management
redounded to the credit of the bank. The fearless
manner in which a catastrophe was met, although
causing a feeling of regret on behalf of the share-
holders, confirmed them in their high opinion of the
management by the way in which they faced the
tremendous loss. The circular stated that it was
intended to meet the loss in the following manner:
The Amount Credited out of
Profit on Capital Account,
as stated was withdrawn ... £120,000
Written off Keserve Fuud ... 100,000
Taken from current Profits, say, 30,000
Total, pay, £250,000
That the course adopted by the directors was a wise
one was amply demonstraled by the immediate results.
Instead of the credit of the bank being decreased it
was greatly enhanced, and the customers, who had
experienced a nasty shock, were more than reassured,
and the business of the Union, instead of decreasing,
steadily progressed to such an extent that after the
lapse of two years no less a sum than £120,000
was re-credited to capital account. Thus each share
at that time was credited with £15 paid. During
1864 the capital was increased to £4,000,000 nominal
and £1,200,000 paid-up, by the issue of 20,000 new
shares at a premium of £16 per share. In 1872
a further 10,000 new shares were issued, also at
a premium of £16, and the amount received on
account of premium was credited to the reserve fund.
In 1874, out of surplus profits, the directors declared
a bonus of lOs. per share by again crediting that
amount as paid up on each share on account of
It was in 1882 that the bank was registered as
a limited company, when the nominal capital was
increased to £11,000,000, and 20,000 new shares
issued at a premium of £12 10s. per share. The
whole of the share capital was doubled, £50 per
share being added to the nominal or face value.
This brought up each share to the value of £100,
with £15 lOs. paid, and, what was most important,
£50 of the balance due per share was fixed as
♦* reserved liability," only to be called up in case of
the bank having to go into liquidation. At the
present time, by reason of increase of business and
acquisition of other banking institutions, the authorised
capital has been increased to £25,000,000, of which
£28,934,100 has been subscribed, and £3,654,785 10s.
We have not been able to procure a copy of the
first balance-sheet published by the Union, but we
find that at the end of the first year of its establish-
ment the directors allocated a certain proportion of
the profits as the nucleus of a reserve fund, which
has been steadily increased till it now stands at
The bank started with its head offices at 8 Moor-
gate Street, and remained there till 1845, when
premises were taken at 2 Princes Street. These
premises were rebuilt in 1885, the premises of the
Azienda Insurance Company on the one side, and
those of the world-famed tavern, ** The European,"
on the other were procured.
It was not till 1840 that the Union opened its
first branch — in Eegent Street, but the following year
an office was started at Charing Cross. In 1855 the
bank opened a branch at Temple Bar, and four years
later took over the business of Messrs. Dixon & Co.,
private bankers, in that district. Since then the
capacious premises in Chancery Lane have been erected,
and the business of this branch has been transferred
there — a splendid move on the part of the bank —
"which has ever since proved most successful and
profitable. It was in 1870 that the Union started
business at Holborn Circus, and the Bayswater branch
was opened in 1882. In 188G the Fenchurch Street
branch was opened, and almost at once the bank
decided very wisely to put this branch in the
"Clearing." The same year the Union took pre-
mises and opened a branch in Tottenham Court
Eoad, although there they had to compete with the
London & Westminster, the Central, and the City.
The venture w«s very successful, and the directors
must congratulate themselves on the decision. In 1888
a branch was started at Chelsea, in Sloane Street,
and in 1892 at Southwark.
In 1891 the Union took over the old private bank
of Chasemore & Eobinson, of Croydon, and with this
connection opened a branch in that most important
We learn that in the balance-sheet for the half-year
ended 80th June, 1840, the total of the current and
deposit accounts was only i;377,000. Considering this
total, and that for the year ended 3 let December,
1904, the difference is most surprising. The balance-
sheet, as published for the half-year ended 31st
December, 1904, was : —
Statement or Accounts for the Half-year ending
31st Decembek, 1904.
£ 8. d.
Capital subscribed £22,934,100 in 229,341 Shares
of £1C0 each ; paid up £15 10s. per Share ... 3,554,785 10
Eeserve Fund —
Invested in Consols, Local Loans Stock, and
Transvaal Government 3 per cent. Guaran-
teed Stock as per Contra 1,150,000
Deposits and Current Accounts 34,337,250 16 2
Acceptances and Guarantees 2,157,637 16 2
Liabilities by indorsement on Foreign Bills sold 13,319 9 4
Other Liabilities, being interest due on Deposits,
unclaimed Dividends, &c. ... 445,523 12 1
Eebate on Bills not due 23,051 7 2
Profit and Loss —
Balance brought forward ... £55,987 16
Net profit for the half-year
ending 31st December, 1904 213,425 19 11
269,413 15 11
£41,950,982 6 10
£ 8. d. £ 8. d.
Cash in Hand , 3,264,723 15 6
„ in Bank of England ... 3,692,518 17 3
6,957,242 12 9
Money at Call and at Short
Notice 6 280.641 9 9
Securities of and guaranteed
by the British Government 2,963,674 16 5
Indian Stock and Indian
Railway Guaranteed Bonds 382,436 6
English Corporation Stocks,
Railway and Waterworks
Debenture and Preference
Stocks, Colonial Stocks,
Foreign Government and
Railway Debenture Bonds 1,186,464 10 6
Other investments 52,571 12 10
4,585,147 5 9
Reserve Fund —
£560,000 Consols at 85
£510,000 Local Loans Stock,
£192, 100 Transvaal Govern-
ment 3 per cent. Guaran-
teed Stock, at 96 1,150,000
5,735,147 5 9
Bills Discounted —
(a) Three months and under 4,657,742 11 1
(6) Exceeding Three months 505,501 7 11
Loans and Advances 14,299,819 3 7
Liabilities of Customers on Acceptances and
Guarantees, as per Contra 2,157,637 16 2
Liabilities of Customers for indorsements, as per
Contra 13,319 9 4
Bank Premises, chiefly freehold 1,214,243 18 8
Other Assets, being interest due on Investments,
&c 129,686 11 10
£41,950,982 6 10
So far as to-day is concerned the mot d'ordre is amal-
gamation. The directors of the Union have grasped
that, and with their new energy have proved them-
selves not a whit behind, and perhaps far in advance
of many of their confreres. They have arranged and
completed terms of amalgamation with one of the
most important and best-known private banks in the
financial world — Messrs. Smith, Payne & Smiths —
whose reputation was world-wide, whose connection
was very extensive, and at the same time very select
and valuable, whose standing in the city as an old
private bank stood second to none except Martin's —
who had registered under the Limited Liabilities
Act— and to Robarts, Lubbock & Co., the only remain-
ing private bank in the Clearing House. In taking
this great step in advance they not only took over
the London business of Smith, Payne & Smiths,
but also that of several private institutions con-
nected with the Lombard Street firm by connection
or otherwise with old - established and widespread
businesses in the country. This at once raised the
Union many points in the estimation of their London
competitors. For many a year previously several of
the great joint-stock amalgamating banks had cast
envious eyes on the magnificent business of Smith,
Payne & Smiths, but without result. The Union did
the successful wooing and winning. To say that
London bankers were surprised at the announcement
is putting the matter too mildly — they were all non-
plussed. It had been thought that Smith's would
have followed the example of Barclay's, and made a
combination of their own institutions and those in
which they were directly or indirectly interested, and,
therefore, no one would have been an atom aston-
ished if they had heard or read of terms of arrange-
ment having been entered into between several private
banking companies, and a limited company being
registered under the Act; — in any case the amalga-
mation between the Union and Smiths was equally
advantageous, the latter retaining the freehold of their
extensive premises, worth an almost fabulous sum.
Not content with this splendid stroke of business —
the securing of a house of so great antiquity — the
directors took another most important step. They
managed to secure, on equitable terms, the old estab-
lished house of Prescott, Dimsdale & Co., of Corn-
hill — another bank with a seat in the "House" —
and one with a very extensive connection in the West
of England. After this second big amalgamation the
Union of London had, of necessity, to alter their
title, and the directors decided to make it as short as
was compatible with public requirements. They there-
fore styled their institution — the '* Union of London &
Smith's Bank, Limited."
The bank, as now constituted, has a splendid for-
ward career in front of it, and we have no doubt
that with a continued strong management it will main-
tain, if not accentuate the rapid growth it has made
in recent years. Even yet with all the competition-
keen though it is — there is plenty of room in the
suburbs for further extension — and still more in the
provinces. At present there are many districts quite
inadequately supplied with banking accommodation :
there are others which, so far, have hardly been
touched. With their magnificent head ofiice, their
great funds, and their able management, the directors
of the Union will probably before long climb up
another rung or two on the ladder of progress.
Since this date the Union have taken over the
following private banks : —
Messrs. Butcher & Sons.
Messrs. Hilton, Rigden & Co,
Messrs. Sanders, Snow & Co.
As it may be of interest to take a cursory glance
at the two grand old houses taken over by the Union,
we give a short account of them.
Messrs. Smith, Payne & Smiths.
This was one of the oldest private banks in London,
and is particularly interesting, since it was at one
time so intimately connected with the London Bankers'
Clearing House. Prior to the erection of the present
Clearing House the "clearing" clerks used to meet
in a room in the banking house of Messrs. Smith,
Payne & Smiths. Although we have not been able to
obtain any definite information as to the date when
the occupancy started we have been creditably in-
formed that in 1827 '* the Clearing House or office
adjoined the bank of which it formed part."
This famous banking house had a most interesting
origin. In a large town in the midland counties lived
a draper, whose name was Smith, and whose shop
was much patronised by the farmers' wives and
daughters, While the good ladies were shopping, the
farmers were busy transacting their own business, and
naturally called back at the draper's to pick up their
lady companions. They would adjourn into a com-
fortable little parlour at the back of the shop, where
they would discuss affairs in general, and the state
of the roads in particular — the state so far as safety
from highwaymen and footpads Was concerned. In
those days travelling at night was unsafe and hazar-
dous. Add to this the fact that the farmers would
frequently have in their possession large sums of
money, and it will be at once gathered that a
certain amount of courage was necessary to under-
take the homeward journey unprotected.
Mr, Smith realized this, and hit upon a happy
idea, and suggested to the farmers that he would will-
ingly take charge of their surplus money, and they
could get it from him whenever they pleased. The
suggestion met with great favour, as it ensured safety
and obviated anxiety. The honest and straightfor-
ward draper soon found himself the custodian of con-
siderable sums of money : he then astonished his
customers by announcing that he would offer them
on any sums they liked to entrust him with, or rather
on the balance left with him, a small rate of interest.
The natural consequence was that the amount of
the deposits rapidly increased. Year by year the
business of the mid-country draper continued to in-
crease, and to such an extent that it was found
essential that a separate department should be opened
to meet the banking requirements of the customers,
who flocked from far and near. At last the drapery-
business was entirely dropped, and all attention was
given to banking.
His son, besides continuing business at Nottingham
opened offices at Hull and Lincoln. Presently it was
found needful to have a London representative, and
Mr. Payne was selected. The choice turned out a
very happy one. In 1759 the name appears in the
directory as Smith & Payne, of Lothbury, and in
1770 they removed to 18 Lombard Street. In 1773
the firm was Smith, Payne & Smith, of George
Street, Mansion House. In 1785 it was Smith, Payne,
Smiths & Payne, but in 1786 the second Payne dis-
appeared, and the firm traded as Smith, Payne & Smiths.
The bank is first recorded as at No. 1 Lombard
Street, in 1880, a building still used by the now
amalgamated banks, the business of the now defunct
" house " being still carried on there. In this par-
ticular we must record that there is no bank in
London — other than the Bank of England — enjoying
so magnificent a site. Not only does the freehold of
No. 1 Lombard Street, belong to the Smith family,
but the whole of the land bounded by Lombard
Street, St. Swithin's Lane, George Street and Mansion
House Street respectively — a freehold site the value of
which can only be dreamed of, but which, sold under
the hammer, would cause the greatest sensation of
many centuries past.
There is a good tale told of a young woman, who
was brought many years ago before a London magis-
trate for vagrancy. On being asked her name, she
replied that it was Smith. Her interrogator then
wanted to know whence she came, and what was
her father's occupation. The worthy magistrate was
astounded to learn that her father was a banker at
Nottingham. At once the renowned Nottinghamshire
banker flashed before him, but the appearance of the
young woman seemed to belie her relationship to so
wealthy and respectable a gentleman. As, however,
she persisted in her statements, and said, moreover,
that she had been obliged to leave home because her
father could not afford to keep her, the magistrate
was more and more mystified, and remanded her while
inquiries were instituted. A clergyman of Nottingham
was communicated with, who shated that the young
woman was not the daughter of the renowned banker.
but of a mud banker in the fens, and that her father
had been compelled through her misconduct to refuse
to support her. He further stated that the labourers
engaged in draining the water from the fens were
called bankers — hence the term '* country banker."
Presoott, Dimsdale & Co.
This bank, though to all intents and purposes a
private institution, was yet a company registered under
the Joint Stock Companies' Act. Like Barclay's it
was a combination of several private banks — namely,
Prescott, Cave, Buxton, Loder & Co., and Messrs.
Dimsdale, Fowler, Barnard & Dimsdale, of London ;
Messrs. Miles, Cave, Baillie & Co,, of Bristol; and
Messrs, Tugwell, Brymer & Co., of Bath. When the
amalgamation, which came quite as a surprise, took
place, the name of the Jfirms was altered to Pres-
cott, Dimsdale, Tugwell Co., Limited,
Prescott & Co. — This bank had but little history.
It was started in Threadneedle Street, and it was
practically in the same spot that business was con-
ducted at the time of the amalgamation with Messrs.
Dimsdale, of Cornhill. It was founded as far back
as 1766, with the title of Prescott, Grote & Co., and
it was first opened for business at 57 Tlireadneedle
Street. It is not quite clear when the business was
transferred to No. 62, but that is the address given
in the directory for 1776, when the title of the bank
appears as Prescotts, Grotes, Culverden & Hollings-
worth. In 1797 the name of Culverden does not
appear, the firm standing as Prescott, Grote & Hol-
lingsworth. Two years later the name HoUingsworth
disappeared, and another Prescott came on the scene,
the title then being changed to Prescott, Grote & Pres-
cott. After sundry changes the name of the firm
was known in 1876 as Prescott, Cave & Co., and
this title was retained until the amalgamation.
DiMSDALE & Co. — After much enquiry we have been
entirely unsuccessful in tracing the exact date of the
establishment of this very old private house, but it
is quite clear that it must have been established prior
to 1762. One interesting point is this, that like all
bankers or goldsmiths of or about this date, it had
its distinctive sign, and was better known by the
name of "The Golden Helmet and the Golden Bear,"
than by the name of the partners themselves. In
1770 business was carried on at 50 Cornhill, by
Messrs. Cornewall, Staples & Watts. About the same
time Messrs. Dimsdale, Archer, Kyde, Dimsdale & Co,
were in business at 2 White Hart Court. In 1779
an amalgamation took place between the two firms.
The two united firms carried on business in a
satisfactory and progressive way till 1852, when an
amalgamation was effected with the old private house of
Drewett, Fowler & Co,, when the name of the united
firms was altered to Dimsdale, Drewett, Fowler & Bar-
nard. In 1866 the name Drewett disappeared, and
later the title was changed to Dimsdale, Fowler,
Barnard & Dimsdale.
The firm of Drewett & Fowler was founded late in
the last century by a bill-broker named Mr. Joseph
Smith, who was a partner in the firm of Birkbeck & Co.,
of Settle. Mr. Smith had in his establishment
a clerk named Holt, whom he afterwards took into
partnership, and the style of the house was altered
to Smith & Holt. In 1809 it was known as W.
Holt & Co., Mr. Smith having retired and a Mr.
Drewett having been taken in as a partner. In 1828
Mr. Holt died, and Mr. Thomas Fowler joined the
firm, which was then known as Drewett & Fowler.
Referring to this bank the City Press said : " It is
always a pleasure to note the history of old firms,
but it sometimes happens, as in the case of this
house, that although there have been times of great
depression and feverish excitement, enormous specula-
tions and tremendous failures, that throughout it all
the * even tenour of its way ' is pursued, so that
beyond the bare record of the changes which the
stern hand of Death invariably necessitates, there is
but little else to record. The bare fact of a bank
established considerably more than a century ago
being able to still maintain its richly-merited con-
fidence, and unsullied name, in spite of the keen
competition of the present time, speaks volumes to its
credit. At times of great financial crises, and ex-
ceptional disturbance in the banking world, when
many houses of long standing were either actually
stopping payment, or tottering to their fall, the firm
of Messrs. Dimsdale & Co. has stood its ground firm
and unshaken. Though joint-stock banks have sprung
up on all sides of us, with their enormous capitals,
and unlimited resources, offering banking facilities in
earlier times unthought of, yet this house, more than
twice the age of the oldest joint-stock bank, not only
keeps in the running, but, what is more, enjoys as
high, if not higher, a reputation than ever.
"To the City this house is of especial interest,
because one of its chief members is Sir Eobert
Nicholas Fowler. This gentleman was elected Alder-
man for the "Ward of Cornhill in 1878. Two years
later he was elected Sheriff for London and Middle-
sex. In 1884 he enjoyed the highest civic dignity,
as he represented London as its Lord Mayor. It
was during his mayoralty that Prince Leopold, Duke
of Albany, died, and the Inner Circle Eailway was
opened. The following year the then Lord Mayor
(Mr. Alderman Nottage) died in office, and Mr. Alder-
man Fowler was unanimously elected to take his
place, and before his second term of office had ex-
pired her Majesty conferred a baronetcy on him.
** Sir Bobert Fowler was well-known as a politician,
and, when he addressed the House, always spoke
straight to the point. Mr. Gladstone, addressing Mr.
Fowler at the banquet on November 9th, 1888, said,
*I have always known you as a frank, bold, and
courageous opponent in the House of Commons,' "
After the amalgamation it was decided that the
head office should be in Cornhill instead of Thread-
needle Street, so the business of Messrs. Dimsdale
was transferred to the latter address during the
demolition of the Cornhill premises. This took a
considerable time and evoked a great amount of
interest. It was decided to build a double basement,
and that necessitated sinking the foundations to a
depth of from 80 to 40 ft. Archaeologists all over
the country watched the progress of the excavation
with the keenest interest, and were will rewarded for
their pains. The deeper the excavations became the
more treasures were found. These consisted of all
sorts of Eoman relics — pottery, spearheads, and the
like, with now and again articles of antiquity which
reminded one very forcibly of those of to-day. The
old Eoman wall which in ancient times surrounded
Londiniensis was struck at an angle, and for days
strenuous endeavours were made to remove it. It
was about 20 ft. below the level of the street — but
the stone, or concrete which answered the pur-
pose of stone, was of such a nature that the edges
of the chisels were turned as though they had been
made of tin. Finally, it was decided that no further
money should be spent on such unremunerative work,
and, consequently, to-day in what become the head
office of Prescott Dimsdale's bank — and now is
the Cornhill branch of the Union of London and
Smiths — there can be seen in one of the vaults the
angular portion of what at one time, in the days
of long ago, was part of London's fortifications.
" While writing on this subject," says a well-known
authority, "I may mention that when the old house
was being demolished I saw close by, in fact, adjacent
to the old Eoman wall, a portion of what appeared
to be a tomb covered over with a very thick block
of stone. Much curiosity was evinced as to what
it in reality was, but the investigation started was
never pursued. It appeared to me as though it
might have been a receptacle for records and docu-
ments. Some attempts were made to break away the
brickwork, but these failed ignominiously. Numerous
human bones were discovered, and at the greatest
depth, below the bed of London clay, and buried in
the white clay which underlies the London clay, was
discovered a skull. To whom it belonged or by what
means the owner met with his death will for ever
remain a mystery. It was here, too, that the bed of
a stream was discovered ; whether or not it was
once a portion of Wall Brook has not been decided,
but there were clear indications that at one time it
had been a rivulet." The London wall referred to
above was probably a portion of that which was dis-
covered when "The Woolpack " [at the corner of
St, Peter's Alley was being rebuilt, and when the
foundations of "The Half Moon" at the corner of
the main entrance to Leadenhall Market were being
laid. The angle in each of the three cases seems
to have been almost identical.
Williams, Deacon's Bank, Limited.
There is no bank in London enjoying a higher repu-
tation than that of Williams, Deacons. Long before
the time of any of the present generation existed
this house was flourishing, doing a large business,
and earning for itself golden opinions all over the
country. It was with a pang of regret that one
learned that the partners had decided to combine
their interests with those of the Manchester & Sal-
ford Bank, Limited, although everybody knew that
the latter institution, though of comparatively modem
growth, was sound as a trivet, had a splendid con-
nection, and was doing a large and remunerative
business. With many folk there is the feeling that
if a private bank allow itself to be absorbed by a
limited company — be it ever so good — an old land-
mark has been swept off the scenes. Hence it was
that the amalgamation of Williams, Deacons & Co.
with the Manchester & Salford Bank, Limited, by no
means gave unmixed pleasure and satisfaction.
So far back as 1793 in the " List of Bankers "
we find ''Williams, Son & Drury, 20 Birchin Lane,"
and this firm appeared in the "Directory" for 1779
as "Lowe, Vere, Williams & Jennings, of 20 Birchin
When the house was actually started we cannot
trace — but it was "in the days of long ago." It
would be exceedingly interesting to find the old
records and make from them quotations which would
enable us to see what was the nature of the busi-
ness then. That it was very far-reaching none will
doubt, and most probably it was in the nature of
that carried on by other goldsmiths — "kepeing run-
ning cashes." In the days of wild excitement and
mad frenzy attendant on the South Sea Bubble the
bank was there, and successfully weathered the terrific
crash which followed. The crises of the Bank of
England were witnessed and tided over without trouble.
The cashiers welcomed all customers on Black Friday.
The Baring crisis had no effect. And when we had
the Australian Black List constantly growing longer
and more serious, business in this bank went on in
the usual methodical uninterrupted manner. One
would at these times of stress as soon have expected
the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street to close her
doors as to have dreamed of any unbearable strain
being felt by this old banking house.
The firm were the recipients of all sorts of con-
fidences from near and far. When by chance there
was trouble abroad customers would send their valu-
ables for safe custody, and, perchance, some of these
packages were never called for. In the times of
Continental wars we are informed that it was no
uncommon thing for the bank to receive a sealed
box or case for safe custody, and it is more than
probable that during troublous times at home the
bank received like confidences. It was not many
years ago when the bank authorities having decided
to have a clean-out of their strong-room a singular
thing occurred. While moving an old time-worn
wooden box the men let it fall. It dropped on one
of its corners, which was smashed. To the astonish-
ment of all gold-dust and rough diamonds poured out.
The box had been in the bank's custody so many years
that the label containing the name and particulars
had long since gone, and although the most dihgent
search was made, no trace could ever be found in
any of the books of the original depositor. We give
this as we heard it from one of the officials, but
we have not learned what was the actual fate of
this most mysterious deposit. And this is only one I
How many others may there not have been like it?
The Manchester & Salford Bank with which
Williams Deacon amalgamated was established in
1836, and on August 15th of that year commenced
business in King Street, Manchester. From the very
first substantial progress was made, as will be seen
by the following extracts from the report presented
at the first annual meeting (August 28th, 1837) : —
'' The accounts have been made up to the 30th June
last, and after all the expenses of outfit have been
deducted, as well as an ample sum for dubious and
bad debts, the balance of profit, consisting of profit
on trade and premium upon shares, has been ascer-
tained to amount to £18,872 2s. 8d., and the state-
ment of the accounts has been examined and signed
by three of the directors, in conformity with the eighth
clause of the Deed of Settlement.
" The directors have come to the conclusion that
in the exercise of their discretion they shall best
promote the permanent interests of the company by
carrying the above-mentioned sum of £18,872 2s. 8d.
to a ' Reserved Surplus Fund ' account ; and they
esteem it a fortunate circumstance that, after a
period of extraordinary reverses in trade and great
interruption of business, they are thus enabled to lay
the foundation of a Guarantee Fund, so conducive
to the prosperity and safety of the bank."
This wise poHcy was steadily pursued with great
advantage to the bank's reputation. The original
paid-up capital was £252,000. In 1860, after paying
a dividend of 8 per cent., a bonus of 4s. 2d. per
share was declared to be added to the capital stocky
and at the next yearly meeting a similar bonus on
the capital was announced, thus raising it to
£296,845 15s. 8d. Next year a bonus of 8s. 4d.
was similarly distributed, and, in 1863, 4s. 2d. per
share. Two years later a bonus of 18s. 9d. per
share was declared. In 1874, when the business of
Heywood Brothers & Co. was acquired 15,000 new
shares were issued, and at a speciel general meeting
in 1877 it was decided to create a further 25,000.
At the close of 1880 the paid-up capital was
£760,000, which large sum was increased to £1,000,000
on the amalgamation with WiUiams Deacon in 1890.
When the amalgamation was effected the name
of the north country bank was tacked on, and
remained so for many years, but, at last, it was
decided to take the wise course of altering an un-
wieldly title to one which could be easily remembered
and recorded. So far as the London bank was con-
cerned, even after the amalgamation, the old name
was regarded by the public as the only right one.
Below is a copy of the balance-sheet issued by the
bank, under date 81st December, 1904 : —
£ 8. d.
To Capital : 125,000 £50 Shares
£ s. d.
Of which paid-up £8 per
„ Eeserve Fund
„ Unpaid Dividends 895 10
„ Dividend and Bonus, Decem-
ber, 1904 75,000
„ Amount due on Current, Deposit and other
11,354,456 8 9
,, Acceptances and Credits opened on behalf
„ Foreign Bills Negotiated
„ Rebate Account
23,620 9 3
„ Balance of Profit and Loss carried forward
7,566 5 2
T> ^ . £ s. d.
£y Cash on Hand and at the
Bank of England ... 1,890,554 15 11
„ Money at Call and at Notice 1,290,944 2 2
„ British Government Stock,
viz. : —
£1,111,111 2 2i per cent. Consols, at 85
, , British and Indian Govern-
Railway Stocks, &c. ...
Bills of Exchange
Advances on Current Ac-
counts and Loans on
Acceptances and Credits
Issued on behalf of
Customers, as per contra
Foreign Bills Negotiated,
as per contra
Bank Premises in London,
Manchester and thirty-
five other places
480,772 14 1
£ s. d.
3,181,498 18 1
944,444 8 6
1,399,130 14 7
5,525,074 1 2
2,078,985 11 8
5,113,616 6 8
328,772 14 1
.^ ^ V -> N A :? y-
London & Paris Exchange,
- A. M. MANDEVILLE, Esq.
Banking and Exchange Business of Every Description Transacted.
Advances made on Industrial Securities at 1 per cent above Bank Eate,
and on Mining Shares at 5 per cent, per annum.
Deposit Accounts : Eate 3 per cent, per annum, Eepayable on Demand,
Drafts Issued on New York, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Montreal,
STOCK EXCHANGE DEPARTMENT.
Business undertaken in all Stocks and Shares. Unquoted Securities
Special Eates quoted for all classes of Insurance.
BASILDON HOUSE, BANK, LONDON, E.C
Banking and Insurance Departments—
COLEMAN STEEET HOUSE, LONDON, E.G.
Auction, Land and Estate Department—
27, CHAELES STEEET, ST. JAMES'S, S.W.
West End Office—
29, CECIL CHAMBEES, HOTEL CECIL, LONDON, W.C.
Aberdeen — Northern Assurance Buildings,
Belfast— DonegaXl Square West,
Birmingham— Central House, New Street.
Brighton— 150, North Street.
Bristol— 2Z, Clare Street.
Cambridge — Llandaff Chambers, Regent
DttSZin— 43, Dame Street.
Eastbourne — 17a, Terminus Road.
Olasgow-^b, Renfield Street.
Hastings— 6, Trinity Street.
flwW— Prudential Buildings, King Edward
Leeds— St&ndard Buildings, City Square.
Liverpool — 11, Lord Street.
Manchester— Eagle Insurance Buildings, 64,
Neweastle-on-Tyne — Sun Insurance Build-
ings, Collingwood Street,
JNottingham— 19, Low Pavement.
Oxford— Ba, St, Michael's Street,
Plymouth — Prudential Buildings, Bedford
Southampton— FrudentiaX Buildings, Above
Canada— TORONTO : 34, Victoria Street.
Licensed by the Government of Ontario to deal in Stocks and Shares.
Foreign Agencies— PARIS, BERLIN, ANTWERP, AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK,
JOHANNESBURG and SALISBURY.
Telephones— 223, 223 and 227 London Wall (National). 6536 Central (P.O.)
Telegrams and Cablegrams Private Wire)— "Plenarily, London."
London & Paris Exchange,
(Incorporated under the * ' Companies Acts, 1862 to 1900.)
Authorised Capital - - £250,000
Paid-up Capital - - - £100,000
Managing Direetop - - A. M. MANDEVILLE, Esq.
if^HE history of this important financial institution is briefly
this : Foreseeing a steady development throughout the
United Kingdom, the Continent, and the Colonies of the Indus-
trial and Mining Industries, and recognising the important fact
that the public must year by year require increased facilities for
dealing in and obtaining advances on such securities, it was decided
in 1895 to found the London <fe Paris Exchange, Limited. Business
was commenced at 24, Throgmorton Street, a few doors away from
where the first Joint-Stock Bank, i.e., the London <fe Westminster
Bank, was first started. The j^ublic were quick to appreciate the
advantages and facilities offered, together with the promptness and
accuracy with which all transactions were carried through, that
within a very few years the clientele of the firm so increased that
larger ofl&ces had to be secured, and the business was transferred to
its present 'premises at Basildon House, Moorgate Street, Bank.
Each successive year the volume of business steadily expanded,
calling for additional office accommodation, so that at the present
time the offices occupied by the London & Paris Exchange rank
among the finest and most business-like in the City of London.
Branch Offices have been established at most of the leading centres
in the United Kingdom, and aflford those clients residing in the
provinces the facility of having a personal interview with their
Managers. Agencies have also been established at the leading
financial centres on the Continent and in the Colonies. At Toronto,
Canada, the Exchange hold a special license from the Government
of Ontario to deal in Stock Exchange Securities. The Exchange
has been successful in negotiating several Municipal and Corpora-
tion Loans, and the Estate and Insurance Departments are rapidly
extending their sphere of influence, proving of great utility and
importance to the general public. So colossal a business involves
the employment of a very large staff, which must of necessity be
highly trained ; the employees have their own Athletic and Cricket
Club, with their private grounds at Mill Hill Park, Ealing.
Until the London <fe Paris Exchange was founded no recognised
Banking institution existed prepared to fill the place left vacant
by the private Banker, or to cope with the wants of the Mining
and General Investor. The integrity and intelligence with which
it has been conducted is responsible for the high standing of the
firm in the world of finance to-day.
Barclay & Company, Limited.
Being a History of the old Banking firm of Barclay dc Company ^
and also of the various Institution which have been, from time to
timey amalgamated with or absorbed by them.
(author of ** THE THREE CROWNS " ; ** LEADING LONDON BANKS " ; *' 80MMB
OLDB curiosities"; "banking statistics"; "bank balance sheets";
" our clearing system and clearing houses " ; etc., etc.
J. HERBERT TRITTON, Esq.
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''SOME OLDE CURIOSITIES,"
BY A KNTGTHE OFFE YE QUILLE. Price, Paper Cover*, Is.
I, Early Banking,
II. The Goldsmiths.
III. Retfal Tyranny.
IV. Questionable Reparation.
v. Old Houses.
VI. "The Three Crowns" — Messrs.
Coutts & Co.
VIL "The Marygold"— Messrs. Child
Vin. "The Grasshopper"— Messrs. Mar-
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^'Our Clearing: System
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at the Bank in Loth bury, or any of its Branches. Thb Officers of the Bank are bound not to
3otntles0 at all XTwelve Cmers^
FIRE, FALL, I THI^ IISTINC.
C'^ sit. . . .
)eposit . .
deposit . .
. Deposit . .
.res Safe Deposit
y-^Gi 30O0 ^^avy Stores Safe
' ^ 7^ '^^^Sk of Athens Safe Deposit
Hull Safe Deposit for the Ocean Accident and
Guarantee Corporation, Ltd.
JKatner Steel Bankers^ JDoors^
Plate and Strong Room Doora^
Jewellery SafeSy &c,y <Cc., Stc^
Gatalodues jfree on BppUcation.
n, MOORGATE ST., E.G.